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Indigenous-Owned Company Lands $15M Grant to Develop Climate-Friendly Hemp

The USDA is funding R&D of hemp as a climate-smart commodity.

A look at the Canndigenous farm.
A look at the Canndigenous farm.

Wisconsin-based hemp company Canndigenous, in partnership with Iconoclast Industries and several university and business partners, has been awarded a $15 million grant for its "Industrial Hemp for Fiber and Grain" project by the USDA’s Climate-Smart Commodities program to fund the research and development of hemp as a climate-smart commodity.

The $15 million grant for the “Industrial Hemp for Fiber and Grain” project will be used to support the expansion of climate-smart markets by providing open-access data and training on how to monetize climate-smart practices through a digital marketplace pilot. The project will also establish an inclusive workforce to engage with and financially support underserved producers as they learn the climate-smart practices in Florida, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Canndigenous is the only tribal-member owned partner funded under the USDA’s Climate-Smart Commodities program to date. Canndigenous founder and member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Rob Pero, is also the founder and CEO of the Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association, a national trade organization founded in 2022 to support Indigenous interests in the emerging cannabis industry.

Canndigenous is the first independent Native American-owned hemp farm and CBD retailer in Wisconsin. The company focuses on growing local, high-quality CBD and providing wellness products with a commitment to natural, organic and sustainable practices.

Other partners joining Iconoclast Industries and Canndigenous for the USDA-funded “Industrial Hemp for Fiber and Grain” project include: Cedar Meadow Farm, University of Florida, University of Georgia, Stockton University, The Shaffer Group, Texas A&M University, Pecan Street Inc, CultivateAI, Florida Department of Agriculture, Green Ocean Sciences, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Ganjanesh Bioscience, INDHemp, Global Hemp Association, 357 Hemp Logistics, SB Friedman Development Advisors, M4MM, EntreVation, Stillman College and Legacy Farms Group.

In addition to the “Industrial Hemp for Fiber and Grain” project, the USDA is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding pool.

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