Miss. hemp processing plant hopes to create “Hempcrete”

Hemp processors working to add hemp to infrastructure
Isaiah Byrd holding "hempcrete" mixtures
Isaiah Byrd holding "hempcrete" mixtures(Mia Monet)
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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PRENTISS, Miss. (WDAM) - Hemp is a crop commonly known to be smoked. However, Mississippi’s only hemp processing plant is working on more than just ways to smoke it. They want to make a major part of the state’s infrastructure.

“We are looking at taking cement and concrete that already exists down in Mississippi and in putting hemp into,” says Eric Sorenson, owner of the processing plant. “This block here has 25% hemp in it. It makes it’s still strong, and it can be made here in Mississippi.”

Sorenson has been working with his partner, Isaiah Byrd, to create a mixture called “hempcrete.”

“So, what we’re trying to do is trying to see if we can create pavers, or concrete mixtures, that can integrate hemp into it. We’re also looking at possibly integrating it with blacktop asphalt blacktop, for roads,” says Sorenson.

Apparently, this is not the first time it’s been done. Sorenson says the mixture has been found in caves that housed cavemen. But it’s also been found in an iconic structure that dates back hundreds of years.

“The Great Wall of China was built out of a hemp concrete plaster mixtures. It’s called ancient hemp plaster is what they call it back then,” Sorenson says. “So the Great Wall of China is still there today.”

Sorenson says once they’ve perfected their “hempcrete” mixture, it is going to be huge for Mississippi’s economy, and maybe even bring it back to where it once was.

“Mississippi was the fifth largest economy in the world at one time if you can believe that,” says Sorenson. “The state was the fifth largest economy in the world one time back when cotton was going.”

Today, Mississippi’s economy is ranked 49th in the United States, but Sorenson and Byrd believe with their creation, things will change.

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