This week we chat to James Hood, Co-Founder
alongside Charles Mann of Australian Primary Hemp, an innovative new business
that is working to take advantage of Australia’s demand for the newly-legalised
hemp industry. James and Charles have known each other since they were six
years old, growing up on sheep farms in Victoria’s Western District. The pair
set out to produce a bioavailable protein, initially researching the idea of
farming crickets, but later turning their attention to growing hemp given its
high level of plant protein and its numerous health benefits.
JH: My original plan was always to find an alternative protein away from the traditional sources we had previously farmed, when the discussion around cannabis arose it clearly made more sense than reinventing the wheel for crickets; as low THC hemp cultivation and harvest are complementary to our existing cropping infrastructure and fits in to more alternate diets (kosher, halal, vegan, veg.. etc.). It is a better protein and there are thousands of additional uses for the plant…not to mention the positives for the environment!
were the biggest challenges in getting Australian Primary Hemp off the ground?
JH: As with any new business there is often
a number of question marks around funding, Charlie and I certainly were not looking
at going into this half-hearted, there was a massive gap in the market for
Australian grown hemp products and fortunately family and Charlie’s other
ventures were in a position to assist with some of the rather large initial
difficult was it to convince did you convince friends and family involved in
the business to back your decision to import premium hemp hulling equipment
JH: There were more questions around the
legality of growing cannabis rather than the opportunity to establish a viable
ISB:And what did that bold move
mean for the growth and development of the business?
JH: Once we paid the deposit on the
dehulling line, we had really just made the jump from idea to serious
execution. There was no second guessing the success of the business and we were
full steam ahead to fulfilling our desire to become the leading cannabis
company in the country.
do you see the business developing in the next couple of years?
JH: There are numerous low-hanging fruits
presenting themselves to us derived from the plant, while we are primarily a
food company we would be mad not to be keeping an eye on these opportunities.
what is the number one lesson you’ve learnt on your start-up journey you’d
share with others looking to start their own business?
JH: Back yourself! Everyone seems to have
an opinion on what you are doing when you are starting out – if you listened to
all of them you’d likely never get out of bed.
More times than I would care to remember
people laughed when told that we grow hemp for food, often accompanied by
“what do you do, roll it up and smoke it?” and “it’ll never work”.