Seed World

Panda Biotech Donates Free Seed to Help Farmers Jumpstart Texas’ Industrial Hemp Fiber Industry

Dallas-based Panda Biotech today announced it is jumpstarting the state’s new industrial hemp industry by donating more than 60 tons of approved hemp fiber seed to Texas agricultural producers. The company is a first mover in the United States for processing textile-quality, high-grade fiber and hurd from hemp for various manufacturing applications.

Each farmer accepting the free seed will be asked, but is not obligated, to provide basic data on their hemp crop. All producers providing data will receive a free copy of Panda Biotech’s Research Summary Report generated from the promotion to help ensure the 2021 Texas industrial hemp harvest reaches its full potential.

The promotion was formulated in close coordination with the Texas Industrial Hemp Council, formed by Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, to help farmers experiment with, and gain experience from, their first trial crop of industrial hemp.

“This new cash crop represents an exciting opportunity for Texas agricultural producers,” says Eloise Frischkorn, chairperson of the Texas Industrial Hemp Council. “Under Commissioner Miller’s leadership, we expect to be the nation’s leader in hemp production, but as a brand-new crop, there is much yet to learn about how hemp will respond to Texas soil. Panda is being farsighted in partnering with our farmers to help get our Texas hemp industry kickstarted. Their generosity will put the state’s agricultural producers in a great position for the 2021 season.”

“We are literally seeding Texas’ industrial hemp industry,” says Scott Evans, executive vice president of Panda Biotech. “We’re doing this not only because we’re confident in American-grown hemp fiber’s potential to revolutionize several industries — from textiles, bioplastics, and paper to high-tech manufacturing — but also because of the confidence we have in the Texas farmer. We’re making this donation to help ignite a new industry where Texas has the potential to be a global leader, and having access to real-world data is a necessary first step for that to occur.”

Panda Biotech will provide data from the seed promotion to Texas A&M AgriLife that will conduct the research and publish a report on the findings to share with all study participants.

Panda is working with noted research institutions and consultants, such as Texas A&M AgriLife, to assist prospective Texas hemp farmers in their production decisions. Accordingly, Panda Biotech will host a virtual town hall meeting in May with panel participants — such as Calvin Trostle, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agronomist — who will provide growers with a basic understanding of hemp fiber farming and how it can fit into their current practices and crop rotations.

Afterward, Panda will conduct monthly online meetings with Trostle and other AgriLife agents to field any questions and share progress reports on lessons learned related to the growing of industrial hemp.

Panda’s free test seed will be distributed in Lubbock starting Monday, May 4. To ensure as many Texas producers as possible can participate, a grower can test with as little seed as desired or up to 25-acres worth of seed. The seed will be available on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Producers may use the resulting industrial hemp crop for any purpose they choose except for seed reproduction for 2021.

Panda Biotech’s promotion is not intended as a buyback program, but as an educational vehicle for Texas producers to experiment with the free seed and have access to essential planting information. Panda expects its report to provide participating farmers with first-hand, on-the-ground research that will assist them in successfully planting future hemp fiber crops. The data could also benefit farmers for crop insurance and banking purposes.