As Texas farmers submitted their applications for the 2020 growing season, Panda Biotech, a hemp fiber processing company based in the northwest part of the state, announced a plan to donate 60 tons of certified hemp seed to interested growers. The stock was quickly claimed, and CEO Scott Evans thinks that his company’s giveaway helped stoke the hundreds of applications that poured into the state capital this spring.
But there’s another side to what Evans is hoping to accomplish: Panda Biotech will work with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to conduct a research project this year (and in years to come).
“Our whole play here is we want small acreage, but as many different soil types, regions and growers,” he says. “We want a widespread set of data. So, more people on fewer acreage is better for our data report.”
The hemp seed in this project is a Chinese variety grown primarily for fiber production. With Panda Biotech’s resources supporting a broad swath of the state this year, the plan is to accelerate the market infrastructure needed to get hemp fiber off the ground in the U.S.