Paul McCourt CEO and Founder of Celtic Wind Crops.EU, explains how his firm is leading the way in the hemp industry for a sustainable future
The industrial hemp plant has many uses and Celtic Wind plans to capitalise on all of them, having no waste of any of the plant’s parts, therefore, creating health food supplements, natural fibres for industries and wood core for building and bedding products.
We use no chemicals in any of these processes and if we have any waste it is returned to the field from which the crop came to replenish the nutrients and, therefore, completes a fully natural crop cycle.
The company’s founders have been working with hemp since 2009 and registered the business in 2012 with a view in mind to bring the hemp industry to Ireland and be a globally traded business.
Creating jobs and making a difference to the economy and the environment, the 2019 crop of 500 acres will capture during its growth cycle over 1,650 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere this season. This is equivalent to the carbon produced in over 220 American households every year.
We understand the plant and how it performs in different conditions and reintroducing old natural farming techniques to produce a unique range of natural products. We have also created our own supply chain; we call this seed to shelf which means we are in full control of all of our own raw materials and manage everything from putting the seed into the ground all the way through to the finished bottle on the shelf giving our customers total confidence in Celtic Wind.
By introducing these old farming techniques like meadow planting, this allows Celtic Wind to grow a natural crop without the use of agrichemicals, this leaves a boundary around the field so wildlife can come back to protect the crop, encouraging white butterflies, ladybugs and bumblebees that all play a role in maintaining a healthy crop by controlling disease and infestations naturally.
This is an industry that can no longer be overlooked with all the benefits it brings when you support the hemp industry by making a difference in the environment and the economy in which these businesses are located. It creates jobs, protects the environment and gives us clean natural raw materials to work with. As you would be creating these resources locally, it would cut down the impact on transportation of goods and mining for resources, reducing our global carbon footprint overall.
If we make the decision to switch 40% of the world’s agricultural crop to hemp over the next five years, this would have a positive fundamental impact to local economies and environments, therefore, contributing to the global community.
However, industrial hemp is known to be one of the toughest agricultural crops in the world to deal with, standing over 12 feet tall with natural fibres that can be as strong as steel when they wrap around machine parts, cause real problems for modern machinery. To harvest and process this crop correctly, you need a lot of heavy-duty machinery and infrastructure and this is still certainly lacking in the UK and Ireland today. This is one area that has really held the whole industry back: support for infrastructure and clearer regulations as most countries tend to make their own legislative changes on industrial hemp. Legislative guidelines require that because of its relationship to the cannabis plant, industrial hemp must be below 0.2% THC when tested in the field, however, regulations state that not one milligramme of THC or any other controlled substance may be found in the finished product. We are heavily regulated in this industry by government bodies such as the HPRA, FSAI, HSE and the Department of Agriculture and, of course, Celtic Wind products comply with all European Union (EU) and United States (U.S.) legislation.
Celtic Wind had to create their own infrastructure as there are limitations on harvesting hemp seed. We only have eight hours from when we start to harvest before the seed spoils and turns rancid, so this means Celtic Wind only harvest approximately 100 km from the facility to ensure we can protect and stabilise the crop within this time limit, so harvest to storage takes place within eight hours.
This also allows for full traceability, if you pick up a Celtic Wind product and read the little batch number on the side of the bottle back to the company, they can tell you the day that crop was sown, the date it was harvested and every station in the processing facility that it passed through on its way to the shelf.
Celtic Wind carries out all its processing and operations in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where day employ most of their staff, over 18 now and have started employing in the UK and the U.S.
At Celtic Wind, even though we work with an ancient crop, we embrace modern technology to help us make the most out of the hemp plant: you can see from our videos the drone photography of the beautiful local area we grow in, what you might not realise is that under that drone a whole bank of sensors take readings from the crop to inform and indicate certain areas of interest. Our monitoring system will predict yield, detect disease and provide solutions for this.
We are pushing the boundaries in agricultural science and biotechnologies with our crop monitoring system especially for hemp and new product development areas. This all combined gives Celtic Wind the ability to produce a wide range of products for different industries. We have just extended our ingestible range with three new capsule products called Synergy and have now launched pet care to the market, coming soon is the body care range, again all fully natural and traceable. Further applications of the raw materials will include eco-friendly building materials such as natural fibre insulation and structure-forming wood core products for the sustainable building industry.
We at Celtic Wind truly believe this is the way forward for business and industry alike, creating natural resources from a sustainable ancient crop like hemp an annual spring break crop that can feed, clothe and shelter if you know how to work with this amazing plant.
For further information please see www.Celticwindcrops.com
Please note: This is a commercial profile
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