Drayton Valley receives provincial funding for industrial hemp

By Laine Mitchell (Twitter: @Laine_Mitchell)
April 10, 2017 - 1:31pm Updated: April 10, 2017 - 4:26pm

The Town of Drayton Valley has received $117,525 from the Alberta government as the interest in hemp production and processing continues to sprout. 

The money is coming from the Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program and will go towards building a “cluster” around the hemp business in Drayton Valley, to assess the market, train and incubate local businesses and support local investors.

Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous praised the program, which lets communities identify what is going to work best in their area and explore where the opportunities are.

“We are in a position to support the Town of Drayton Valley to move forward on opportunities in the hemp space. Not only with funding for market identification and products, but to support hemp specific businesses in Drayton Valley.”

Bilous added hemp has a real potential for job creation, with the province being well-conditioned to be a front runner. 

“The Town of Drayton Valley along with surrounding communities like Warburg, Devon they are all very excited at opportunities with hemp. Drayton however is very well positioned, they are a leader in the pack.”

Economic Development Officer for The Town of Drayton Valley Eric Burton said there is an entrepreneur and an investor aspect to hemp, with the area specifically focusing on hemp fibres. 

“Thanks to the BioComposites Group, we are big on hemp fibres. The Town of Devon is big on hemp seed work there. All we need is farmers on board, if we are successful they will see the economic potential,” he commented.  

The CARES program evaluated 88 applications from communities across the province, representing a total of $10.5 million in requested grants.

As part of the Alberta Jobs Plan, the Alberta government has allocated $30 million over two years to promote long-term economic growth and prosperity in Alberta’s communities and regions.

The second intake is now open and will run until May 31. For more information on how to apply, as well as eligibility criteria, visit http://www.jobsplan.alberta.ca

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