Local hemp researchers are launching the next phase of a project to pull toxins from Oklahoma's soil. Hempyre Genetics has teamed up with a Native American health group for the experiment that could have a far-reaching impact.
Hemp stalks will soon become straws for the soil at three sites in Adair County.
Hempyre Genetics’s Project Hemp for Victory team is working with Native Health Matters to identify the best strains to rejuvenate our earth, something that is desperately needed after decades of wear and tear by other crops.
Native Health Matters scientist Brad Fausett says, “I look around through agriculture in the United States and notice that that’s exactly what we are doing. We are wearing them out.”
The brains behind this project believe hemp even has the power to pull heavy metals and oil contaminants from the soil and could still be profitable as a fiber.
“You can harvest the plant, analyze for it, go back and analyze your soils and see exactly what you did,” Fausett explains.
Hempyre project manager Jordan Early adds, “If we pull up and end up with some radioactive stuff, obviously we’re going to want to destroy that, but our hope is that we can pull it out of the soil and still use that.”
This is just the latest step in Hempyre's research through Northwestern Oklahoma State University, using hemp seeds that grew wild across the state for nearly a century. They are now tying the ancient plant to its Native roots.
Native Health Matters co-founder Tim Houseberg says, “To bring back part of the culture, the indigenous culture, and use it to create opportunities, economic-wise and clean up the earth is really something we’re excited about.”
Hempyre is relying heavily on partnerships with non-profits like Native Health Matters to fund these experiments, but the latest federal Farm Bill opens up the research to federal grant opportunities that will help expand their work further.
“I’m tired of saying maybe,” Early says. “I think we will clean the soil and it will help our water and continue to help the community and spread across the nation.”
To learn more about the research happening at Hempyre, click here.