|HEMPOLOGY.ORG: THE STUDY OF HEMP
War on Hemp
By Craig D. Putnam of American Eagle Seeds
In 1937, legislation was pushed through which made it virtually impossible to grow hemp in the US. The Marijuana Tax Act was an attempt to control the transfer of Cannabis by taxing producers and handlers. It was assumed that no one would incriminate himself by buying a tax stamp. This law was, eventually ruled to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. But the result was that hemp and hemp production was made to be a crime. These government regulations ushered in the prohibition of hemp, as well as the "evil weed".
However, this government policy regarding hemp was soon forgotten and ignored by the Feds, as a new, more serious threat emerged, World War II. As supplies of imported line fiber diminished due to the unreliability of foreign supply, hemp was recruited into service. American citizens at home were recruited into schemes to produce this, once again, valuable crop and it's products. So, in less than five years the National consciousness and conscience was amended, temporarily, as the reality of hemp's value superseded a political agenda.
In 1941 a directive from the War Department established a production scheme to re-supply fiber for the National defense. Forty-two hemp mills were eventually built, throughout the Midwest, and four thousand acres, surrounding each mill, contracted for the growing of hemp. The Federal government established special corporations to handle the project, but most of the real work was done at the state and county level. As you will see, the Federal government's limited involvement would prove beneficial when they would suddenly cut these programs.
Suddenly, hemp was good again: and essential to the Nation at war. Hemp was promoted by two methods: appeals to patriotism and cash. Soon hemp was growing in the fields and the mills starting production. Hemp was represented as a "new" major agricultural industry at a time when agronomists were looking for alternative crops. It could have been the start of a profitable new industry for American hemp producers; it turned out to be, ultimately, a waste of resources, natural and human.
This is the story of one American community's experience with the War Hemp program; it's hopes, dreams and desires, reduced to a faint memory. Perhaps for some interests this whole episode was best forgotten, but now almost 60 years later, we have the full story from the perspective of one, hemp community.
The following written excerpted material is from the Jackson County Pilot (Minnesota); 1942, 1943, 1944. Special thanks to Craig Putnam of American Eagle Seeds email@example.com for researching and copying these articles and for the above photographs and advertisements. [Comments concerning original newsprint noted in brackets.]
September 17, 1942
Reviving Hemp Industry Seen For Mid-West
A multi-million dollar program for revival of the century old hemp industry in Kentucky, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana is to be considered by the War Production Board this week.
The plan, Representative Keefe (R-Wis) has told the house, proposed the construction of 75 hemp breaking plants and the building of about 3,500 specially designed harvesters. It was prepared by the defense plant corporation in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and the hemp administrator.
Seed produced this year in Kentucky, Keefe said, would be available to plant a major portion of the 300,000 acres sought for 1943 production. Hemp planting fell to 7,100 acres in the United States in 1938.
The breaking plants to cost approximately $275,000 each will be located to suit the areas chosen for the acreage to be planted. Each plant will employ 75 to 100 men in the breaking season.
The fiber is needed for rope and binder twine. Present stockpiles, Keefe said, would "be practically exhausted in this country by the end of 1943."
November 19, 1942
Jackson Designated as Site for Hemp Factory
15 Modern Plants Will be Erected By Federal Aid
Minnesota War Board Designates 14 Counties in Which Hemp Plants Will be Constructed
INDUSTRY EXPECTED TO FURNISH EMPLOYMENT FOR 100
Shortage of Rope and Cordage Because of Jap Invasion Expected to be Solved by Factories
Jackson business interests became alert last Friday, when announcement was made that our city had been designated as one of the 15 points in the state where the government is to establish hemp plants. The plants in each area will be erected at a probable cost of $33,000 [should be $333,000] each.
The program as announced by government representatives will be a step towards national self-sufficiency in the production of vital rope fiber, the major source of which was lost when the Japanese conquered the Far East. Each mill will be equipped to handle the output of 4,000 acres. About 100 workers will be employed at each plant according to preliminary announcement already made by government officials in charge of the projects.
Preliminary tests made prior to the announcement last Friday, give proof that Jackson county soil conditions are especially adapted to the successful growing of hemp and it is certain that farmers in the Jackson trade territory will give hearty approval and support to the establishment of a hemp plant in this county.
The Jackson Community Club has already volunteered the national board support of the project, and it is expected a public meeting will be held in the near future when more substantial support will be offered by Jackson business interests in making possible realization of such an important industry's establishment in the Jackson community.
Charles Stickney, chairman of the Minnesota War Board of the department of agriculture said the defense plant corporation, war construction agency of the federal government, will finance the construction and the Commodity Credit corporation will supervise the building and operation of the plants as well as the planting and harvesting of the hemp.
Conferring with Stickney Friday were Professor A.H. Wright, USDA hemp division; A. W. True, north central region director of the division of war crops of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and S.H. McCrory, director of the hemp division of the Commodity Credit corporation.
The Minnesota development is part of the nationwide program for the erection of 71 plants to manufacture rope and cordage from 300,000 acres of hemp to be raised in several midwestern states.
Alternate sites to be used in the event that the projects do not go through in the original towns are Morris in Stevens county; Redwood Falls in Redwood; and Gaylord in Sibley.
The 15 mills in Minnesota are to be completed in time to make rope and cordage from the 1943 harvest of some 60,000 acres to be planted to hemp next spring. The growing will be done by Minnesota farmers, under fixed price contracts with a government agency.
January 21, 1943
Hemp Offers Many Possibilities Also As Peacetime Crop
Aside from Making Rope and Burlap, It is Also Used for Cloth, Paper and Explosives
Hemp, aside from being urgently needed by the government for making rope and burlap for the army and navy, offers many possibilities as a peacetime crop.
To get a better idea of what the proposed processing plant may mean to Jackson county farmers and businessmen, read the article, "Hemp, the New Million Dollar Cash Crop for Farmers" which appears on another page of this week's Pilot.
In addition to being in manufacturing rope and burlap, hemp makes fine cloth , that can hardly be detected from the finest flax linen. It is also displacing pulpwood in paper manufacturing and even now is used extensively in making TNT and other explosives.
January 21, 1943
The Story of Hemp, New Million Dollar Crop for Minnesota Farmers
American farmers are promised a new cash crop with an annual value of several hundred million dollars, all because a machine has been invented which solves a problem more than 6,000 years old. It is hemp, a crop that will not compete with other American products. Instead, it will displace imports of raw material and manufactured products produced by the underpaid coolie and peasant labor and it will provide thousands of jobs for American workers throughout the land.
The machine which makes this possible is designed for removing the fibre-bearing cortex from the rest of the stalk, making hemp fiber available for use without a prohibitive amount of human labor.
Hemp was cultivated in China 4,700 years ago and was probably brought to Europe before the Christian era, though it was not much cultivated there until the middle ages and then only for the seed, which was used for food. It had been cultivated and used by the Pre-Columbus Indians. Most of the world's crop now comes from eastern Europe, though the finest quality is produced in Italy. Kentucky, Ohio, and Wisconsin are among the leading hemp producers in the United States.
Part of the cargo on the Mayflower was hemp seed. And, being the raw material for making rope and burlap, it was an important crop in this country all during the sailing-ship era. But about the turn of the century it was replaced by imports of Manila hemp, sisal, and jute from Africa and the Orient.
The hemp plant is an annual, growing each year from the seed. It has an upright stalk which attains a height of from 3 to 16 feet, usually 4 to 6 feet. This stalk varies in diameter up to 2 inches, the usual conditions of planting producing stalks of one-half inch or less. They are more or less fluted, or four-corner ridged, lengthwise with the stem. They may have well marked nodes or joints at 4 to 20 inch intervals. When planted for fiber production the stalks are crowded and without foliage except near the top. By contrast the wild growing plants, or an occasional uncrowded one along the edge of a field, has numerous branches. The plant has compound palmate leaves with 5 to 11 leaflets or lobes, usually 7, and almost invariably odd in number. The leaf is somewhat similar in shape to a hand, with the fingers represented as leaflets. These leaflets or lobes are pointed at both ends and vary up to about 6 inches in length, and to about 1 inches in width. Hemp has two sexes. At maturity its male and female plants can be distinguished. The female flowers are inconspicuous and are found hidden among the small leaves at the ends of the stalk and branches. The male flowers are very prominent. When mature they shed pollen profusely. The fruit or seed is similar in size to a large wheat kernel but nearly round. When mature they may be dark in color or distinctly mottled.
There is a great variation in the appearance of the plants. As stated before, they may, for example, vary from 3 to 16 feet in height at maturity. They may be quite bushy or almost without branches. The differences are due to the origin of the seed, local conditions of soil and climate, and proximity of other plants during growth. The hemp plant is often called a number of different names, one that we are familiar with around here is Marihuana. It is the same plant but named by different people as they thought it was some thing new. Dry climates for example, generally produce shorter plants than moist climates. Range of temperature and length of growing season are major factors. When seed produced in one place is planted in another where different soil and climatic conditions prevail the plants will resemble those from which the seed was harvested. If, however, such plants be cultivated in the new locality for several generations the characteristics of the local variety appear and the plants can no longer be differentiated.
Farmers who have had experience with hemp, like the crop because it assists in controlling weeds, leaves the soil in excellent condition for succeeding crops, and is not noticeably hard on the land.
Good, rich silt or clay loam soils are necessary for hemp. This crop will not make a satisfactory growth on sandy or gravelly(sic) soils or soils low in fertility. In the fertile soil areas where hemp is grown, it is the custom to select the best land on the farm for hemp. A dense stand of tall, slender stalks is needed to produce a good yield of fiber. This requires a very rich soil and a good supply of moisture throughout the growing season. The soil must be rich in organic matter, well supplied with manure, and thoroughly drained.
Hemp has been tried on many types of marsh soils but generally with unsatisfactory results. Some marshes produce a very rank growth of stalks but a fiber relatively low in quality. Other marsh soils produce a growth too short to pay for harvesting. Some marsh soils that are low in fertility will produce a good yield of very fair hemp fiber when properly fertilized. On such soils potash is generally necessary, but both phosphorus and potassium may be required. It is usually best to avoid marsh soils for growing hemp.
Hemp removes about the same amount of fertility from the soil as does a good crop of corn. Because it grows rank and luxuriant, it is often incorrectly contended that it is hard on the land. Hemp requires a fertile soil for its profitable growth, but this does not mean that it exhausts fertility. Farmers who have grown hemp for many years, unanimously agree that it is a very satisfactory crop so far as the soil is concerned, that it greatly assists in getting rid of weeds, and leaves the soil in an excellent condition for succeeding crops.
Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the woody "hurds" remaining after the fiber has been removed contains more than seventy-seven percent cellulose, and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to cellophane.
From the farmers point of view, hemp is an easy crop to grow and will yield from three to six tons per acre on any land that will grow corn, wheat or oats. It has a short growing season, so that it can be planted after other crops are in. It can be grown in any state in the union. The long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for next year's crop. The dense shock of leaves eight to twelve feet above the ground chokes out weeds. Two successive crops are enough to reclaim land that has been abandoned because of so much Canadian thistles or quack grass.
Under old methods, hemp was cut and allowed to lie in the fields for weeks until it retted enough so the fiber could be pulled off by hand. Retting is simply rotting as a result of dew, rain and bacterial action. Machines were developed to separate the fibers mechanically after retting was complete, but the cost was high, the loss of fiber great, and the quality of fiber comparatively low. With the new machine known as a decorticator, hemp is cut with a slightly modified grain binder. It is delivered to the machine where an automatic chain conveyor feeds it to the breaking arms at the rate of two or three tons per hour. The hurds are broken into fine pieces which drop into the hopper, from where they are delivered by blower to truck or freight car for loose shipment. The fiber comes from the other end of the machine, ready for baling.
From this point on almost anything can happen. The raw fiber can be used to produce strong twine or rope, woven into burlap, used for carpet warp or linoleum backing or it may be bleached and refined with resinous by-products of high commercial value. It can, in fact be used to replace the foreign fibers which now flood our markets.
Thousands of tons of hemp hurds are used every year by one large powder company for the manufacture of dynamite and TNT. A large paper company, which has been paying more than a million dollars a year in duties in foreign-made cigarette papers, now is manufacturing these papers from American hemp grown in Minnesota. A new factory in Illinois is producing fine bond papers from hemp. The natural materials in hemp make it an economical source of pulp for any grade of paper manufactured, and the high percentage of alpha cellulose promises an unlimited supply of raw material for the thousands of cellulose products our chemists have developed.
It is generally believed that all linen is produced from flax.
Actually the majority comes from hemp, authorities estimate that
more than half of our imported linen fabrics are manufactured
from hemp. Another product is burlap. Practically all of the burlap
we use is woven by laborers in India who receive only four cents
a day. Burlap is the most common wrapping paper of the wholesale
trade. U. S. in normal times consumes more than 500,000,000 pounds
a year. Bulk foods, grains, sugar, coffee, salt, livestock feeds,
cotton, wool and chemical products are a few that are shipped
in them. In war time it is very much needed for sandbags and camouflage
fabrics. The burlap we have been using is made from jute, a different
grade of hemp that cannot be grown here. In no other part of the
world where acceptable jute can be grown has labor been persuaded
to processes it, for jute must soak in stagnant water, be hand
worked, waist deep in the stinking mess. Every war since the Crimean
has created a boom in the jute trade but it is the first time
the Western Hemisphere has had to face jutelessness. Since Pearl
Harbor the U.S. has made Herculean efforts to conserve burlap
and to get in as much more as the thin line of groaning ships
can bring. By government orders now two-thirds of all the burlap
is earmarked for military needs and the other third for the farms.
All furniture dealers and carpet makers have been denied the use
All these products, now imported, can be produced from homegrown hemp. Fish nets, bow strings, canvas, strong rope, overalls, damask tablecloths, fine linen garments, towels, bed linen and thousands of other everyday items can be grown on American farms. Our imports of foreign fabrics and other fibers average about $200,000,000 per year, in raw fabrics alone we imported over $50,000,000 in the first six months of 937 [should be 1937]. All of this income can be made available for Americans.
The paper industry offers even greater possibilities. As an industry it amounts to over $1,000,000,000 a year, and of that eighty per cent is imported. But hemp will produce every grade of paper, and government figures estimate that 10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average pulp land.
Check Possible Sites For Big Hemp Plant
First Choice is 40 Acres One Mile West of Jackson
Government Representative Will be Here Soon to Make Selection of One of Five Suitable Places
HEMP PROCESSING PLANT WILL BE BIG ASSET TO CITY
Locating of Factory is Contingent on Contracts For 4,000 Acres of Hemp Being Signed
Jefferson B. Rogers, industrial engineer for the Commodity Credit Corporation, which will construct and operate the fourteen large hemp processing plants to be built in Minnesota this year by the War Production Board, was in Jackson last Saturday and Sunday when five tentative sites for the $333,000 Jackson plant were picked out.
Mr. Rogers, who was accompanied on the tour of inspection by Chairman Earl H. Bruce, Fred Behrens and Carl Stahlke of the Jackson County Agricultural Conservation committee spent practically all Saturday afternoon in looking over a number of proposed locations.
Within the next week or ten days, a representative of the CCC will be in Jackson when arrangements for the purchase of one of the sites will be completed.
Following are the sites selected:
First choice of Mr. Jefferson is a 40 acre tract of land on the G. A. Albertus farm, just north of the Hummel house, about a mile west of Jackson on Trunk Highway 16.
Second choice is a tract of land on the Theo. Lewison place, also about a mile west of Jackson, on the south side of the highway.
Third choice will be 40 acres on the Roy Marley place, near Highway 16, east of the junction of Highways 16 and 71, north of Jackson. Mr. Rogers said this tract was a perfect location for a hemp plant.
Fourth choice is a 40 acre tract north of the Jackson depot and adjoining Highway 16, now operated by Noah Landis.
Fifth choice is a tract just north of the depot, on the west side of the road.
Ultimate construction of this mammoth plant near Jackson is contingent, however, on contracts being signed before March 1 for the growing of 4,000 acres of hemp within a radius of 15 miles of the plant. (please turn to page three)
(continued from first page)
Jackson County is fortunate in being designated as a location for one of the hemp processing plants, as many other communities, not so well situated as to soil and climatic conditions, are doing everything in their power to secure one.
This plant, if constructed here, will prove to be a big asset not only to Jackson, but the entire county as well. Forty acres are required for the three big buildings, lanes and stockyard. The buildings will be constructed from hollow tile or brick, and will be modern in every respect. In addition to the machinery necessary for processing the hemp, the buildings will have other machinery for producing steam power, heat and circulating the vast amount of water necessary for cooking the fiber.
About one hundred persons will be given steady employment for 10 months each year, approximately half of the employees being women.
"This will be a million dollar business," Mr. Rogers said in discussing the hemp situation. "Representatives will soon be in the field to sign up the necessary contracts, and we trust the farmers will respond willingly, not only because of the neat profit assured them, but also from a patriotic standpoint as our Nation needs hemp fibre in this great war emergency
Mr. Rogers said that a net return of $125.00 per acre is not uncommon in Wisconsin, where he resides, as the fibre is sold on a per cent basis, and that net returns of $75 to $100 per acre should be very common here if conditions are favorable.
Contract blanks have been received by the county agricultural conservation office, and will soon be available to farmers living within 15 miles of Jackson.
Hemp Contract Meeting Will Be Held Here Today
Committeemen, Who Are to Secure Agreements for Growing of Crop, Will Get Instructions
Earl H. Bruce, chairman of the Jackson county AAA committee has called a meeting to be held in the armory in Jackson this (Thursday) afternoon, January 14 ,at one o'clock for the purpose of explaining the hemp growing contracts.
The meeting is to be held primarily for the purpose of instructing the committeemen who will have the responsibility for canvassing the territory tributary to the proposed hemp plants at Jackson and Sherburn in order that the necessary contracts may be signed for the growing of this crop.
Carl Steele of the state AAA committee will be present to explain the contracts. He will give full instructions relative to the contracts, which will be between the Commodity Credit Corporation and the grower.
This is a joint meeting for the Committeemen of Jackson and Martin counties, as it is desirable that the interested parties in both counties receive their information at the same time.
Every effort will be made to get the sufficient number of acres signed up at the earliest date, as this is the first step necessary before a hemp processing plant can be secured.
January 21, 1943
Signing hemp Contracts Started This Week
4,000 Acres Must Be Contracted for Before March 1
100 AAA Committeemen From Jackson and Martin Counties Met Here Last Thursday for Instruction
NO TROUBLE EXPECTED SECURING ENOUGH GROWERS
Following Article Gives Much Information Regarding Growing and Harvesting of New Cash Crop
Nearly 100 AAA township committeemen from Jackson and Martin counties, who have been assigned the job of signing up farmers in this area to grow 4,000 acres of hemp each for the proposed Jackson and Sherburn processing plants, heard Carl Steele of the state AAA committee explain how hemp is grown and harvested, at the armory last Thursday afternoon.
Signing of the contracts to assure construction of the two plants is expected to get underway next week. Contracts for the necessary acreage must be delivered to the state committee before March 1.
Introducing Mr. Steele, Earl H. Bruce, chairman of the Jackson county AAA committee, said farmers should look at the hemp program in a patriotic manner as it is one of the vital products needed for making supplies for the army and navy.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Steele pointed out that growing hemp in Minnesota and other states is merely an emergency measure to replace supplies formerly obtained in the Far East and now lost to the United States by reason of the Japanese conquest of these islands. "Even if a farmer feels that he can make more money growing corn," Steele said, "he should get behind the hemp program to assure the necessary supply of rope and other products made from hemp and so sorely needed now by the armed forces."
The reason why the Department of Agriculture selected Jackson and Sherburn as possible processing plant sites is that tests taken here have proven the fertile soil of these two counties will produce a more abundant and better quality of hemp per acre than other counties.
Mr. Steele then told how hemp is grown and harvested, and the following is a condensed report of his talk, but contains all the information many farmers interested in the hemp program have been waiting for.
Hemp is seeded with a drill or broadcast seeder evenly to a depth of one inch. The soil is prepared much in the same manner as for flax. Fall plowing is advisable as this tends to kill weeds that otherwise might lower the quality and bring the grower less return on his investment.
Hemp seed germinates evenly and rapidly, and generally only a few days elapse before the plants are above ground. Care is necessary in preparing the soil so that germination will be even, and the cultivation of the ground after germination has started is fatal to the plant. Time of sowing takes place after oats and barley have been seeded, and before corn planting time.
The seed supplied by the Commodity Credit Corporation, in whose name the contracts are entered into with the growers, costs $11 per bushel or $14 per acre, as it takes 1 1/4 bushels to seed one acre. However the cost of the seed and rental charge for harvesting and picking machines, also furnished by the CCC, as explained later on, is deducted from the checks when payment for the crop is made after the hemp has been delivered to the processing plant in the (please turn to page three)
January 28, 1943
Fourth of Hemp Acreage in County Has Been Signed
Cold Weather and Blocked Township Roads Keep Committeemen Idle During Most of Week
In spite of the severe cold weather and blocked township roads and farm lanes, more than one-fourth of the necessary hemp acreage has been signed up in this territory during the past week, according to Earl H. Bruce, chairman of the Jackson county AAA committee.
Mr. Bruce informed the Pilot late Wednesday that the total acreage signed is slightly over 1,200 with 2,000 acres more necessary before March 1, if Jackson county is to secure the hemp processing plant.
With weather conditions moderating this week, it is expected that the various township committeemen will make an effort to visit the farms in their district during the coming week.
Farmers in this territory are showing a great deal of interest in the government's hemp program, and there is every indication that the necessary acreage will be secured before March 1.
Thompson Lands, Inc., of Windom, who own large holdings of Jackson county farm lands, have made inquires of the Jackson county committee, and it is expected that this firm will enter the hemp growing program along with their many other farm activities.
March 4, 1943
Jackson Chosen Site For One of New Hemp Mills
Washington Announced Monday That Minnesota Had Been Allotted Eleven New Plants
Jackson county farmers who intend to raise hemp this season will be interested to learn that the War Hemp Industries, Monday announced that eleven new plants will be built in Minnesota, the number including a plant at Jackson.
Simultaneously the department announced it has practically completed its signup of farmers for production of 185,000 acres of hemp this year. The new mills to process domestically grown hemp needed to replace the supply of Manila fiber from the Philippines and sisal from the Dutch East Indies cut off by the war makes the establishment of the American plants necessary.
The government will purchase the entire crop, which is estimated will total 460,000 tons of fiber to make cordage and rope for military uses. The erection of the new plants is expected to be started early this spring.
The bulk of the crop will be produced in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, where sites were selected for thirty mills, all to be operated by War Hemp Industries, Inc., as agent for the Commodity Credit corporation. The corporation will also locate two mills in Indiana and one in Kentucky.
March 18, 1943
Jackson County Hemp Growers to Expect Seed Soon
Upon Receipt of the Seed Growers Will be Given Further Instructions in Planting Rules
Jackson county farmers who have contracted to grow hemp for the plant that will be established in Jackson this coming season, have been notified to be ready for the shipment of seed that is expected to arrive shortly.
Each grower of the more than 4,000 acres contracted in this county has received a letter from Charles W. Stickney, chairman of the Minnesota war board, stating that the car load of seed will be shipped soon.
The grower will be notified by the Jackson county AAA committee when the seed arrives, and he will be expected to obtain that amount contracted for from the car at once.
The letter further asks that in completing plans for spring planting operations, the grower plow the field he intends to plant to hemp at the earliest possible date as early plowing is preferable.
Continuing the letter states: "If already plowed, the seed bed should be cultivated in order to eradicate the first growth of weeds.
" You will be given at the time you receive your seed further information on the proper planting methods which you should employ in order to insure the maximum production of hemp straw if weather conditions are favorable.
"Before receiving the seed growers should recheck the acreage of the field they intend to plant, taking into consideration the fact that a border of 18 feet around the hemp should be left for the operation of the harvester. This is very important as otherwise it would be necessary to harvest this strip by hand which would require considerable unnecessary labor."
Hemp Meeting Will Be Held At Armory in This City April 2
There will be a special meeting of instruction for all hemp growers of Jackson county in the Jackson armory on Friday afternoon, April 2, at one o'clock.
This meeting will be in charge of Carl W. Steele who is a member of the state AAA committee and who is specializing in the culture and handling of hemp.
It is possible that Mr. Steele will be assisted by Ralph Crimm, plant specialist of the state university.
This meeting should of interest to all citizens of the county as a large hemp plant is to be constructed near Jackson and several thousand acres of the crop will be grown this season.
Every contract signer of the county has been notified to be present at this meeting and all others interested are welcome to attend.
Word has been received that the seed for planting the hemp crop will soon arrive in Jackson and all growers will be notified to come to Jackson to get their seed. It will take approximately 120 tons of seed to plant the 4256 acres that will be here in the county. The distribution of the seed will be under the supervision of the county AAA. Every effort is being made to have one carload of this seed rerouted to Lakefield for the convenience of the growers living near that point.
April 29, 1943
Four Carloads of Hemp Seed Distributed Here
Farmers Warned Seed Must Not Be Sown Too Early
4,100 Sacks, worth $57,000.00, Now in Hands of Growers Who Signed Contracts Last Winter
HEMP NEEDS WARM WEATHER BEFORE IT IS PUT INTO THE GROUND
Chairman E.H. Bruce Says Seeding Can Wait Until Corn Planting is Completed if Necessary
$57,400.00 Worth of seed for growing hemp for Jackson's new $335,000 plant, which is to be erected this summer about a mile west of town on the Theo. Lewison farm, has been distributed among the farmers in this county who signed contracts last winter, and seeding soon will be in full swing when weather conditions become more favorable.
The shipment of seed received here and at Lakefield, comprised four carloads or 4,100 sacks. The shipment was short about 300 bushels, but it is expected that the balance will be received here soon so that the full 4,200 acres contracted for can be sown.
Chairman Earl H. Bruce of the AAA committee, advises the Pilot that a few farmers, who probable failed to heed the warning given them, have already sown their hemp seed. Whether this seed, sown before the ground has had a chance to warm up will germinate properly is problematical, but Mr. Bruce desires it to be understood that hemp is a warm weather plant and as such the seed should not be sown too early. He has been advised by hemp experts that hemp can be sown as late as May 20th and still produce a good crop.
This early seeding probably was inspired by the fact that the hemp growers wanted to get the work done before corn planting time, Mr. Bruce said, but with hemp seed worth $14.00 per bushel and the fact that three bushels are required for each acre, growers should wait until the weather has become considerably warmer before putting the precious seeds into the earth. It is to the farmers own benefit to get as big a crop of hemp as he possibly can from his land, Mr. Bruce added, and sowing at the proper time has much to do with a big yield.
According to this advice, many farmers, if they are rushed at corn planting time, could just as well let the hemp seeding wait until they have finished with the corn.
No definite word has been received as to which firm has received the contract for building the Jackson plant, but it is expected that the letting of the various contracts will be announced shortly. Rumors last week had it that a Waterloo, Iowa, contractor had submitted the lowest bids on the plants at Jackson, Sherburn and Mapleton, but no official announcement has been received here.
May 6, 1943
Contract Let Last Friday for Hemp Processing Plant
Two Twin Cities Firms Get Awards to Build Plants at Jackson, Sherburn and Mapleton
CONSTRUCTION ON SITE WEST OF CITY TO BE STARTED SOON
Contracts Made Friday Are for Buildings Only and Do Not Include Machinery and Equipment
Announcement came from Washington last Friday that the contract for the Jackson hemp processing plant has been awarded to the George J. Grant Construction company of St. Paul and the Fred R. Comb company of Minneapolis. According to the Commodity Credit Corporation these two firms will also construct the hemp plants at Sherburn and Mapleton.
The Jackson plant will be located about a mile west of the city on 40 acres of land purchased from Theo. Lewison of this city. No word has been received as to how soon construction will start but it is expected that preliminary work will soon get underway.
When engineers visited Jackson last winter to select the most favorable location for the plant, five tentative sites were picked, and the location finally decided upon was the one given No.1 choice by the engineers. Attempts were made later to have the plant constructed north of Jackson, but these plans were never given serious consideration.
Samuel H. McCrory, director of Hemp Industries, Inc., a subsidiary of the Commodity Credit Corporation, said that contracts have now been let on all 40 plants which were included in the 1943 hemp program. Early last week contracts were announced for eight other plants in Minnesota, and the lettings last Friday included contracts for seven hemp mills in Iowa.
The contracts for the Jackson, Sherburn and Mapleton plants were let for a total cost of $301,000, or slightly over $100,000 for each unit, but this is for the construction of the buildings only and does not include the boilers and hemp processing machinery. The total cost of the plants, when completed, will be about $335,000.
Seeding of hemp in the Jackson area is well underway this week, according to Earl H. Bruce, chairman of the AAA committee, who has the supervision of the distribution of the seed to growers.
A mixup of figures in the article published in the Pilot last week urging farmers not to plant the hemp seed before the ground was warm, made it read that it required three bushels to seed one acre and that each bushel of seed cost $14.00. It should have read that each sack of seed contains 55 pounds of seed, representing a bushel and a quarter, or enough for one acre. The total cost of seed per acre is $14.00.
Moisture and warm weather is needed now to make the seed germinate properly and assure a good stand of hemp.
May 13, 1943
Minnesota May Become Home Of Big Hemp Industry
Government's Plan to Develop Hemp Growing Possibilities Will be Watched With Interest
Jackson county farmers who are planting hemp this spring for the first time because of a stoppage of foreign imports, need not be surprised if the industry in the United States becomes a permanent one, but probably not on as large a scale as the program now calls for because of war time conditions.
The establishment of a large number of plants throughout the mid-west states and the planting of thousands of acres of hemp are made necessary by a shortage of material used in the making of rope and cordage, material that was formerly imported into the United States, largely from the Philippine Islands, but now prohibited because of the war with Japan.
Minnesota soil has been recommended as especially adapted for the successful growing of hemp, however, Kentucky formerly was considered the foremost hemp growing section of the country with Wisconsin adding a small share to the acreage.
May 20, 1943
Manager Named To Have Charge Of Hemp Plant
Work of Constructing New Plant is Expected to Start About June, According to Information
4,200 ACRES OF HEMP WILL BE GROWN IN JACKSON COUNTY
E. Guy Hislop of Windom Will be in Charge of Management With Robert Nelson Assistant
Charles W. Stickney, Minnesota Agricultural War Board chairman, after approval by Fred E. Butcher, president of War Hemp Industries, has announced the names of the manager and his assistant who will be in charge of the new $3,300,000 [should be $330,000] hemp plant that is expected to be in operation in Jackson early next fall.
According to the information made public by Chairman Stickney, E. Guy Hislop of Windom, will be the manager and his assistant will be Robert Nelson of Foley. Both gentlemen are expected to arrive in Jackson before the first of the month so as to be on the ground when actual buildings operations are started the first of June by the contractors, George J. Grant Construction company of St. Paul and the Fred R. Comb company of Minneapolis.
The construction of the Jackson plant will be one of eleven contracts let the first of the month for plants to be erected this summer at different points in Minnesota and is expected each plant will furnish employment for from 90 to 100 workers, nearly half of them are expected to be women and workers will be employed in two shifts necessary to process the 4,200 acres of hemp which will be grown by farmers in the Jackson territory.
According to information also given out by Chairman Stickney the newly appointed manager and his assistant will go to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, on May 24, where they will attend a four day school for the purpose of instructing them in the new duties they will be expected to perform when the Jackson plant gets under operation.
Mr. Hyssop [should be Hislop], who has been placed in charge of the management of the Jackson plant, while not well known in the Jackson community, is said to have splendid qualifications for the position he will hold and be cause of such qualifications it is sure he will no doubt prove himself popular with all patrons of the local plant.
While weather conditions this spring, because of the prevailing cold, have not been encouraging to growers of this Jackson county new crop, reports are to the effect that seed is now in the ground and the growers are anxiously awaiting a little more sunshine to insure a perfect germination.
May 27, 1943
Construction on Hemp Plant Starts Next Week
Contractors Will Complete Plant About October 1
Unit Will Comprise Five Buildings Which Are to be Constructed of Concrete Blocks
TWENTY-FIVE TO FORTY MEN WILL BE GIVEN EMPLOYMENT
Site Accepted Will Furnish Ready Access When Marketing Hemp
Starts Next Fall
Actual construction work on Jackson's $335,000 hemp processing plant will start the first of next week, according to W. P. Krauch, of the Geo. J. Grant Construction company of St. Paul, and the F. R. Comb company of Minneapolis, who hold the contract for the erection of the plants at Jackson, Sherburn and Mapleton. Work on Sherburn's plant is also expected to get under way next week.
Location of the buildings on the 40-acre tract recently purchased from Theo. Lewison, 1/2-mile west of the city, has finally been settled after some controversy between officials in Washington, D. C. and Hemp Industries, Inc., who are going to operate the plants under contract from the Commodity Credit Corporation. The buildings will be located on the northwest corner, giving easier access to the grounds from highway 16, and also placing the buildings on higher ground.
Accompanying Mr. Krauch on Monday were D. A. Trierwehler, engineer, and J. E. Peterson, foreman, who will have actual charge of construction. Mr. Trierwehler, assisted by City Clerk, A. E. Wallace, who is also city engineer, will stake out the grounds the latter part of this week. Excavating for the concrete foundations will start Monday or Tuesday.
There will be five buildings, consisting of the mill, 60x120 feet; drier building, 20x120 feet; bale storage, 48x96 feet; straw storage, 60x98 feet; boiler house group, comprising shop, 28x69 feet; boiler house, 48x54 feet; locker room, 18x50 feet; and office building, 12x24 feet. All the buildings will be constructed of concrete blocks with wooden roofs covered with asphalt. They will be one story in height.
In addition to the buildings there will be concrete driveways, sewage system and septic tanks.
The contract calls for completion of the buildings within 160 days. About 25 to 40 men will be employed on the construction of the plant. The contractors will also have charge of installing the machinery and equipment after the buildings have been completed.
Water for the plant will be obtained by drilling a deep well, while electricity will be obtained from the REA line.
June 3, 1943
New Hemp Plant Manager Arrived In Jackson Monday
E. Guy Hislop and Assistant Robert Nelson Already on Ground to Supervise Building Activities
E. Guy Hislop of Jeffers, who has received the appointment of manager of the new Jackson hemp plant, and his assistant, Robert Nelson of Foley, arrived in Jackson the first of the week and are already on the ground and will be kept busy during the summer months in supervising the erection of the plant which is expected to be completed about the first of October.
Both gentlemen are men of family and they expect to move to Jackson just as soon as suitable residences can be secured, and become part of the business and social activities of our city. Of course their work during the summer months will be largely in activities connected with the erection of the buildings and the installation of the machinery. They will also be busy in familiarizing themselves with the management of the plant when actual harvesting and manufacturing of the hemp starts next fall.
Jackson extends a most cordial welcome to Messrs. Hislop and Nelson, together with their estimable families, and from impression already made, it is certain they will build further to the importance and progress of our city as well as Jackson county as a whole.
June 24, 1943
Well Being Drilled On Hemp Plant Site
Sixty Gallons Per Minute is Minimum Required; Grading to Start This Week, Foreman Stolpe Says
The Key Well Drilling company of St. Paul put a crew of men to work Monday on the well that will supply the water for the hemp processing plant, now being constructed west of Jackson.
This concern has just finished drilling the well for the plant at Sherburn, where it was necessary to go down 300 feet before they secured the required flow of water.
E. J. Stolpe, foreman for the C. J. Grant Construction Co., who have the contract for the Jackson plant, informed the Pilot that the minimum flow of water needed is 60 gallons per minute.
Temporary power hookup was completed Tuesday with the REA lines, and the Northwestern Bell Telephone company crew has finished their line and installed telephone connections in the temporary office building.
Mr. Stolpe said grading will start this week, and after this has been completed, construction work on the plant will be speeded so as to have the buildings ready and machinery installed by October 1.
The hot weather of the past week has been a big help to the growing hemp, of which more than 4,00 acres is planted in Jackson county, and should net growers a nice profit with favorable weather conditions.
July 22, 1943
Well Drillers At Hemp Plant Now Down 520 Feet
Water Hit at 395 Feet But Deep Vein of Rock Sand Keeps Filling Hole
The Key Well Drilling company of St. Paul, who have the contract for the well at the Jackson hemp plant, are coming to the conclusion that the jinx is on their trail here. After striking a sufficient flow of water last week at a depth of 395 feet, they also encountered a deep vein of rock sand, which keeps filling in and making the water unfit for use. The well is now down over 520 feet and the rock sand is still present. The drillers are still hoping that they will eventually pass the sand and strike something more solid to anchor the casing on.
Work of putting up the first of the five buildings is expected to start next week, according to E. J. Stolpe, superintendent of construction. The concrete foundations for two of the structures are completed, and workmen are excavating for the remaining three. Installation of the three boilers, now on the ground, will be held up until the well drillers have completed their job.
Work has been delayed somewhat by the heavy rains of the past several weeks, but as soon as the foundations are ready, it is expected that operations will proceed more rapidly.
August 5, 1943
Hemp Industries Establish an Office To Serve Growers
Managers Guy Hislop and Robert Nelson of War Hemp Industries, Inc., announce that arrangements have been completed to open a temporary service office in the Long Building on Ashley street, next door east of the Farm Loan Association office.
It is expected that this office will be used by hemp growers and personnel of the hemp plant until construction of the plant has been completed and adequate facilities are provided at the plant site. Starting Monday, August 9, the office will be open every week day.
The management hopes that hemp growers and others in the Jackson plant area will avail themselves of the facilities of the office when in Jackson.
September 2, 1943
Local Hemp News
(By Hislop and Nelson)
The hemp harvest machines which were displayed at the Jackson county fair through the cooperation of the fair management and the local dealers, Mr. Sorem and Mr. Watland, drew a great deal of attention from the growers of hemp and other visitors as well. While at this exhibit at the fair, we were pleased to meet many of the growers and talk with them about problems relative to the coming hemp harvest, etc. Many people who attended the fair from other communities showed a great deal of interest in this new Jackson county enterprise.
Progress in the construction of the mill has been going along at a rapid rate during the past two weeks. The foreman for the construction company has been able to secure a full crew of workmen, and this, undoubtedly, will enable them to continue the present rate of construction. It is expected that the plant will be completed sometime early this fall, but it will not be necessary to start the mill until the hemp has been delivered from the farms.
Every few days new machinery for the mill is being received, and to date we have received 20 hemp harvesters and 21 gather binders. These machines will be used for harvesting the crop. The management has secured tractors and men to operate these machines, and as soon as the hemp is ready for harvest, these folks will go to work and see that the crop is harvested in the proper manner.
We are quite pleased to note in our visits to the hemp fields that considerable growth has been made during the past two weeks and that, all in all, Jackson county will have a pretty fair crop of hemp to mill this winter.
On Wednesday of last week, John Ovall, safety director of War Hemp Industries from Danville, Illinois, paid us a visit and informed us that every precaution is being taken against fire, and any other hazards that might befall the crop when stacked at the mill and also in the mill itself.
September 16, 1943
Mr. And Mrs. Hislop Are Occupying New Home In Jackson
New Superintendent of Hemp Plant Moved Family to Jackson Last Saturday Afternoon
Mr. And Mrs. Guy Hislop, Mr. Hislop being the superintendent of the new hemp plant, accompanied by their daughter, Miss Elaine, are now occupying their comfortable new home at the corner of Sherman and Dewey streets, having moved from their former home near Jeffers, last Saturday.
As evidence of the popularity held by the Hislops in their former home, 150 neighbors and friends recently tendered to the honored couple a farewell in which they were wished happiness in their new home, and at which time the Hislops were presented a purse of silver in recognition of the splendid citizenship they had given to the Jeffers community during their many years of residence there.
Jackson is indeed happy to welcome this new family and are certain that they will prove real assets in the church and social life of our city in the future years.
October 7, 1943
Hemp Cutting on Jackson County Farms Completed
Retting Process Has Been Slowed Because of lack of Moisture to Properly Cure Crop
PLANT EXPECTED TO EMPLOY MANY LABORERS THIS WINTER
Viewers Are Now Visiting the Fields to Ascertain Number of Acres Suitable for Market
In spite of adverse weather conditions, the hemp on 265 Jackson county farms has been cut and is now laying in the swath where the retting process is taking place. The harvesters used to cut the hemp are now being hauled in and put away for next years crop, and the pick-up binders are being hauled out to the various rings to be ready to bind the hemp straw when it is properly retted. Twenty-nine harvesters were used to cut the hemp and the management expects to have 29 of the pick-up binders in the field also when the straw is bound into bundles.
The hemp has been retting very slowly for the past ten days due to lack of moisture and warm sunny days, according to R. G. Hislop, local hemp mill manager, and it may be several days before it is ready to bind. Hemp growers are urged to shock the hemp as soon after binding as possible to avoid getting the bundles wet. If hemp is permitted to get wet before shocking, it may mold under the band before it can be dried out and the result may be a total loss to the grower.
Hislop explained that the hemp can be hauled to the mill as soon as it is dry enough to stack. He stated that further information will be forthcoming on this phase of the harvest when the time comes.
War hemp supervisors are now busy visiting hemp fields that have been partially abandoned to determine the acreage harvested so that the seed cost can be can be computed on a harvested acre basis. These men are also making a preliminary grade of the hemp in the field and are instructing the growers so that they will be able to readily determine the type of hemp they have grown. Hemp should be shocked according to grade in so far as possible so that when it is hauled to the mill, it can be graded and stacked according to the grade in each load hauled.
Hemp straw is now being graded according to length and thickness, and it is hoped that the preliminary grading now being done will aid the growers to keep different grades of hemp separate as much as possible. The final grade will be made at the mill when the hemp is hauled for stacking. This grade will be determined by length and thickness of the stalk, straightness of the straw in the bundle, degree of ret attained, strength of the fiber, hail damage, and color qualities.
Many workers will be needed at the Jackson hemp mill later on this fall and during the winter, according to R. J. Nelson, assistant manager. Shortly after the hemp is shocked on the growers fields, it will be hauled to the mill site to be graded and stacked for storage until it will be processed in the mill. When the mill is in operation the hemp is taken from the stacks on the mill site and loaded onto hemp straw driers which take out all excessive moisture so that the fiber can be separated from the stalks, and the stalks can be broken into segments to be used as fuel for the steam plant.
After the straw leaves the dryer, it is fed to a hemp breaker where the stalks are run between several fluted rollers. These rollers crush the stalk and loosen the fiber from the stalk so that it can be combed in the scutching machine. After the fiber leaves the scutching machine, it's hackled by throwing the tip of the hands of fiber onto upright steel spikes and then pulled through these spikes much the same as carding wool. This process removes the short and undesirable fibers from the hands of long line fiber and when this is done it is wheeled to the grading room for grading and inspection. After the fiber is graded, it is baled into bales of approximately 500 pounds and stored in the bale storage room until shipment is made to the spinners.
According to Mr. Nelson, there will be between 120 and 150 people needed to keep the mill operating around the clock with two ten hour shifts. He also stated that 25 or 30 men will be required to stack the hemp on the mill site when the growers haul the hemp to the mill. The stacks will be made in long rows on the land adjacent to the mill and will be approximately 12 feet wide.
Mr. Nelson states that many Jackson county folks have submitted their applications for employment during stacking time and also for work in the mill. He says that all these applications will be given consideration and others who are interested should call the company's office in Jackson for the employment blanks.
October 21, 1943
Will Eat Pheasant, Hear Talk on Hemp At Community Club
Those who attend the October meeting of the Community Club at the Ashley Hotel next Thursday evening, will have the opportunity of enjoying a pheasant dinner, and will be privileged to listen to an interesting talk on hemp, if plans of the committee materialize.
President N. F. Benson has arranged to have as the main speaker at the meeting, Fred E. Butcher, of Chicago, president of War Hemp Industries, who will likely use as his subject, "Production of Hemp, and Why We Need It."
President Benson has asked the Pilot to assist him in getting a sufficient number of pheasants to feed the hungry gang, and asks that all who can do so turn their birds over to him or leave them at the Ashley Hotel not later than Wednesday evening of next week.
Members are asked to buy two tickets when the committee calls on them within the next few days, use one ticket for themselves, then invite a farmer who is interested in hemp to accompany him to the dinner on the other ticket.
Let's make this one of the biggest meetings of the year.
November 4, 1943
Hemp Talk And Pheasant Dinner Enjoyed By Many
More Than One Hundred Attended Monthly Meeting of Community Club at Ashley Hotel
HEARD FINE TALK ON HEMP CROP AND RUSSIA
Many Farmers Present to Enjoy the Meeting: Hunters Furnished the Farm-Fed Pheasants
Hemp growing farmers in the Jackson community and members of the Jackson Community club to the number of more than one hundred mingled together at the clubs monthly meeting at the Ashley Hotel dining room last Thursday evening, when they feasted on pheasant and heard one of the most interesting talks ever given in this city.
Main speaker of the evening was Fred E. Butcher of Chicago, president of War Hemp Industries, who told of the magnitude of hemp growing in the United States, concluding his talk with interesting and educational remarks on Russia, a topic on which he was exceptionally well versed.
Mr. Butcher spoke of the activities involved in the operation of the 42 hemp plants in the middle west, the task which those already operating face in view of the fact that the demand for hemp products has grown to such enormous proportions since the war started. Mr. Butcher stated that climatic conditions have much to do with the success of hemp cropping, and local growers were especially interested in this part of his talk due to the newness of the industry in Jackson. The speaker said that the weather this year was just the opposite to what should prevail if successful hemp operations are to be secured. During the past season, when dry weather for seeding and growing was necessary and wet weather was anticipated for successful retting, the situation was just the reverse. Not only did this condition prevail in Minnesota, but it was the case in most sections where plants are located.
However, Mr. Butcher stated, the growers in many sections are receiving a nice return from their crops. He cited a few figures on the amounts paid growers this year. Taking figures from various sections, Mr. Butcher said that one farmer's check for No. 4 hemp amounted to $678.16 or an average yield per acre, after all expenses had been deducted, of $48.44; another was paid for No. 3 and 4 hemp, $1,076.55, or an average of $76.90 per acre; for No. 2 and 3 hemp the company paid a grower the sum of $1, 155.74, or an average acre income of $82.55; for No. 1 and 2 hemp, the total of $2217.04 was paid to another grower, whose average acre income was $147.40. Not such a bad income after all growing and harvesting expense had been deducted.
Mr. Butcher enumerated the various needs for rope and cord during the past year, stating that demands from the navy were enormous, and added that where tests have been made, it was found that rope produced from hemp grown in this country proved superior and longer lasting than any heretofore obtainable.
One of the important factors in hemp harvesting is the hemp turner, and the speaker told of the many inventions that have been developed in the past year to lessen the work of this particular part of hemp production. One of these machines now manufactured at Mendota, Illinois, has been in operation in Britt, Iowa, Mr. Butcher said, and it gives promise of becoming one of the most popular devices for the turning of hemp.
December 30, 1943
Revival of Hemp Industry Promised In United States
Jackson County Soil Should Produce Abundant Yield and Make Industry Very Successful
Jackson County farmers who last spring inaugurated the growing of a new kind of crop in the introduction of hemp, will be interested to learn that the War Hemp Industries have announced the revival of an ancient industry of hemp rope production in the United States with a fair promise that it will be continued after peacetime.
"Until the Civil War," the corporation said, "hemp was grown here in abundance, but with the expansion of world trade it could not compete with fibers grown in the Far East with cheap labor. From the peak of production of 75,000 tons in 1859, our crop fell off to 1,000 tons a year. This year's tonnage, however, is expected to exceed that of 1859."
"Approximately 20,000 growers have signed up with the government to harvest 185,000 acres, and 62 processing plants are under construction. A new gatherer-binder developed by the International Harvester Co., simplifies the harvesting process and will enable us to compete with cheap foreign labor after the war" officials of the company said.
Approximately 4,200 acres of hemp was planted in Jackson county last spring. However, growing conditions proved unfavorable and only a little over 3,000 acres were harvested, but at that growers feel that the crop will still be a profitable one, and it is expected that applications for growing the crop on Jackson county farms next year will be quite general.
January 20, 1944
Jackson and Sherburn Hemp Plants to Close
Manager Hislop is Told No 1944 Crop To Be Put in Here
Announcement Tuesday From President F. R. Butcher of War Hemp
Industries Confirms Rumors
PLANTS HERE TO PROCESS LAST YEARS HEMP CROP
Like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky came announcement Tuesday
direct from Fred E. Butcher of Chicago, president of War Hemp
Industries, Inc., that the Jackson and Sherburn hemp plants have
been included among a number of others in Minnesota and Iowa,
that will be closed after the 1943 crop is processed..
While rumors have been current for several weeks, that the hemp acreage for 1944 would be drastically reduced, no definite information was available until Monday when Mr. Butcher was quoted in an Associated Press dispatch from Mason City, Iowa, as saying: " Plantings will be made in 1944 at only four mills in Iowa and three in Minnesota."
Manager Guy Hislop of the Jackson plant, taken completely by surprise Tuesday morning when a Pilot reporter showed him the dispatch, talked to Mr. Butcher at his Chicago office by telephone, when Mr. Butcher confirmed the story and said that no hemp will be planted in Jackson county this year.
All managers of hemp plants in Iowa and Minnesota have been called to Mason City this Thursday morning for a conference and when additional information will no doubt be given out in regards to the plants that are to be closed.
Mr. Butcher's announcement followed a meeting last week in Chicago between the head of government's hemp program and the A.A.A. goals committee. Butcher is quoted as having said that with the defeat of submarines in the Caribbean and control of the Mediterranean by the allies, the shortage of rope materials can be met to a large extent by importation of hemp from Central America and jute from the Mediterranean.
Hemp was planted in Minnesota and Iowa for the first time in 1943 to meet the shortage of rope fiber caused by the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. The eleven plants erected in Minnesota, including Jackson, to process the crop are nearing completion now. They cost approximately $335,000 each.
Closing of the hemp plants will not be made until after the 1943 crop has been processed, Mr. Butcher assured Manager Hislop in his telephone conversation. The Jackson plant is expected to be ready to begin operations about March 1, but no estimate can be made at the present as to how long a time it will take to process the more than 5,500 tons of hemp that are now stacked in big piles in the yard.
Announcement that no hemp is to be planted in Jackson in 1944 will come as a big blow to many farmers who had successful crops last year, and were expecting to increase their acreage.
Inquiries have also been received at the local hemp office the past several weeks from farmers residing in Nobles, Cottonwood and Dickinson counties. One request for acreage this year came from a farmer in Beaver Creek in Rock county, 70 miles west of Jackson.
For those not acquainted with the profits made on hemp grown in Jackson county last year, the following figures should prove interesting.
Total tonnage of hemp delivered to the Jackson plant as of noon on Monday of this week was 5,500, and is expected to reach nearly 6,000 tons when the last load is in. .
The best yields ran as high as four tons of No.1 hemp per acre, grossing the owner about $200 per acre. However, the majority of the growers are going to net from $80 to $100 per acre.
Hemp Plant Closing Order Will Receive Early Investigation
Congressional Committee Intimates That There May be Found "A Nigger in the Wood Pile"
Jackson county farmers who raised hemp last season will be interested in learning that reports have been received from Washington to the effect that the order issued by the War Production Board canceling the growing of hemp in areas in Minnesota and Iowa where hemp plants have been established will be investigated by a congressional committee.
Senator Guy M. Gillette of Iowa will lead the investigation committee which charges that an international cartel controlling production and sale of jute and sisal is attempting to block the development of the hemp and flax industries in this county and investigation of such facts, if they exist, will be taken up in Washington at an early date.
Senator Gillette in an interview said that a large number of government built hemp mills in Minnesota and Iowa are to be closed, together with reduction in planting for the year 1944, comprises a small part of the whole fiber situation which Senator Gillette and committee will look into as the investigation proceeds.
Many Jackson county farmers who planted a large acreage of hemp in 1943 were greatly disappointed when the order to discontinue further production was received by Guy Hislop, local plant manager in January.
October 26, 1944
Government Asks For Bids on Local Processing Plant
Jackson Hemp Processing Plant in Operation Little Over Year, Will be Leased or Sold
POSSIBLE ENDING OF WAR GIVEN AS CAUSE FOR CLOSE
Several Large Manufacturing Firms Already Have Eyes on Plant and Sale May Soon be Announced
Because of the possibility of the present world war coming to a quicker ending than had previously been expected, there is already evidence that Jackson is about to lose an industrial processing plant that meant much revenue received by farmers in the Jackson community.
The announcement was made the first of the week that the Jackson hemp plant, one of the 11 government owned industrial plants in Minnesota and erected in 1943 at an estimated cost of $300,000, will become surplus property and available for sale when the present stock of hemp straw is exhausted, however, the plant is expected to continue operation for several months longer, or until the present straw stock is fully processed.
While it is understood that the plant will be disposed of by the government and discontinued as a hemp processing plant, that fact does not mean that the plant will not be used for other industrial manufacturing, in fact it is learned from officials in Washington that several manufacturing companies already have their eyes on the Jackson plant and that operations of its facilities will be used in other branches of manufacture. However the defense plant corporation has announced that it is now ready to negotiate with prospective buyers.
...said Secretary Jones, "We are making every effort to enable industry, both large and small, to purchase or lease the plants and to convert them to civilian production as quickly as possible after they are no longer needed for war purposes."
While Jackson county farmers were given the opportunity of raising hemp for only one year, they found the crop profitable and there are regrets that that the industry could not have continued in the Jackson area.
Above material is from the Jackson County Pilot (Minnesota); 1942, 1943, 1944
10 February, 2000
By Craig D. Putnam of American Eagle Seeds
And still, there are regrets that this crop cannot be more properly utilized. Through the hot summer months, the hemp plant processed all the straw they had stockpiled. Management had problems obtaining workers and had to place display ads in the newspaper (see above). Perhaps the attraction of flailing hemp stalks in a hurd fired steam boiler room in the midst of summer was even less appealing than the lure of a dead end job in a suddenly obsolete industry. And these, "manufacturing companies (that) already have their eyes on the Jackson plant", apparently failed to materialize. The Jackson plant today, is part of the county road maintenance department and hazardous waste depository.
And what ever happened to the "investigation" initiated by this Senator Gillette, did this go anywhere or was this also some subterfuge to give an easily acceptable explanation to a very mysterious and confusing episode in American history.
At some point, a very high level directive had to be given to the AAA and CCC to cut the hemp and pull up the root, this time for ever. What were these high level authorities afraid of; (not some sisal cartel) WHAT WAS THE DANGER THAT THEY SAW? Perhaps it was just a misunderstanding about hemp as was stated earlier, in the " Million Dollar" article: "It is the same plant but named by different people because they thought it was some thing new." But that's another story.