How does one get started in the kenaf industry for their particular needs and wants?
"Right here at Kenaf Partners USA"
Myself and many of our current partners have asked where do we start and how do we get started?
It is from the Permaculture Design courses I learned about the many benefits of plant guilds and how different plants provide different benefits to other plants. Working together each plant thrives and a state of regeneration comes into existence. With this in mind I hope we find a way to work together and share our talents, resources and knowledge in a way that benefits each other and we become a "Regenerative Sharing Community".
You are not alone and it will take a team of partners to help you get started and keep your business growing! This is your place to learn, share and connect with others in this new industry.
Selecting the right seed, connecting with buyers, sellers, investors, farmers, processors, manufacturers and entrepreneurs and the sharing of information for decision making and more, is available now with more to come.
It started in 2011 having a discussion with a veteran Permaculture Designer about the importance of watersheds and watershed management. As a result I have looked into various aspects of this topic and found important statistics that I could not overlook. It was the culmination of these statistics and getting through the processes to get to the bottom of "why" and "what solutions" regarding flooding, drought, pollution, human health, environmental health, economics in the USA etc. that drove my hunger to find an entry point or "common denominator" that made sense and could have a beneficial outcome in each of these areas. What I have discovered is kenaf has the potential of improving conditions in each of these areas.
Statistics Affecting and Related to our Largest Watershed
The list goes on!
Introducing kenaf as a rotational cash crop to farmers as a way of helping them transition gradually through the steps of sustainability, resilience and ultimately regenerative practices while improving their bottom line is where we begin.
Sustainability options could be as simple as proper plant spacing causing less stress on the plants they currently grow, thus lowering input costs of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Keyline plowing on contour to handle erosion, flood control as well as store water in their fields during drought, instead of expensive drain tiles and ditch systems.
Resilience options could be "proper" soil testing and amendments targetting optimum soil conditions increasing yield, healthier plants and reslient soil. This along with kenaf as a rotation cash crop increasing profits and improved soil. Cover crops and no till or little till towards "Regeneration".
Regenerative options are things like woody perrenial poly crops, food forests, silvopasture, agroforestry and others.
This is a sequence of transition from the existing scene towards the ideal scenes, that most corn, soy and cotton farmers, could and would take action on over time.
These 6 recommended steps (covered on our kenaf and soil page) can be taken, lowering input costs, increasing yield and profit while they continue to grow corn, soy and cotton. Utilizing all of these successful actions where and when appropriate would be the ideal scene. It is the ideal scene that we want to work towards and take actions over time based on results.
By introducing these things and making kenaf seed available and grown in the USA, the farmer can start eliminating pollution on site and help restore the Mississippi Watershed while improving the quality of their own life and the lives of others in their community.
We could launch a thriving kenaf industry in the US, but what could possibly prevent this from occurring? The same answer to that question could also be the same for the question "What do we need to do, to make it happen"? Our current estimate is we will need 600,000 acres of seed growing operations in the USA, to provide enough seed for 55 million acres. This approximately 1/3 of total acres currently growing corn, soy and cotton. We would need the seeds first to makes this happen. Without a sufficient supply of viable and affordable seed, the rest becomes a mute point.
While we grow enough kenaf seed to make available for our farmers to start using kenaf as a rotational cash crop, kenaf fiber growing operations can begin and start supplying USA processors and manufacturers with the quantity and quality of kenaf fibers and wood they need.
We are currently discovering what seed varieties of kenaf will produce seed in each state. In 2019 we tested 19 varieties and found 4 varieties to further test in 2020 in central states. These 4 will be tested for viable germination rates and seed yield. In 2020 we have an additional 16 new varieties to test, 16 in our northern latitudes.
Looking ahead we know we will need equipment and infrastructure for all our operations in each state. Some of these facilities will be able to process both kenaf, industrial hemp and possibly other fibers i.e. wool, cotton, alpaca, flax etc..
If you want to make small changes, change how you do things. If you want to make major changes, change how you see things. Don Campbell
Our solutions at Kenaf Partners USA Headquarters are to address this strategically, connecting the players who can work out the details of doing business with each other.
Over 20 years ago the USDA did research on kenaf in nearly every US state with a positive recommendation as a rotational crop. First we need the seed supply grown in the USA to handle the demand now and in the future.