JEROME — Hempitecture, a Ketchum-based sustainable building materials manufacturer, will build a factory in Magic Valley, co-founder and CEO Matthew Mead announced.
The company turns industrial hemp into fiberfill that could potentially replace fiberglass insulation and other toxic building materials. Its products – HempWool and Hempcrete – are sustainably sourced from farmers who grow hemp legally.
Idaho farmers have been advocating for their ability to grow the plant — which contains less than 0.3% THC, the compound that gives its cannabis cousin marijuana its peak — since the 2018 federal farm bill legalized it, Mead told Business Plus members on Thursday. at the group’s quarterly meeting at the Mountain View Barn.
Last month, Idaho became the latest state in the United States to legalize its production and transportation.
Idaho growers have a long way to go to catch up with hemp production levels in other states. But in the long run, Mead is confident the product will become a staple in Magic Valley. Montana is Hempitecture’s main source of product, he said.
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Hemp is naturally resistant to fire and pests, he said.
The hemp processing and manufacturing facility would be good for the Valley, said Rebecca Wildman, executive director of Business Plus, a local organization of business leaders that partially funds economic development in southern Idaho.
SIED has been working with the company for six months to bring the green manufacturing plant to Magic Valley, Wildman said.
The company’s building materials are “innovative agro-tech products that are good for the environment and good for the economy”, she said.
Hempitecture has looked at several locations in Magic Valley, including sites in Jerome and Gooding counties, but, so far, Jerome appears to be the most feasible, said Larry Hall, executive director of Jerome 20/20 Inc.
“Whichever community they choose will be a win for Magic Valley,” Connie Stopher, SIED’s executive director, said in an email. “Gooding and Jerome Counties offered incentives to Hempitecture.”
Idaho now allows hemp. It was the last state in the union to do so.