Improved hemp genetics will improve yield per acre and make hemp a more cost competitive crop for farmers

Saskatoon, SK, April 04, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Protein Industries Canada announced a new project with Verve Seed Solutions, Farmer’s Business Network Canada (FBN) and Fresh Hemp Foods (FHF) with the goal of increasing yield per acre, and bringing high quality and low-cost hemp protein to the market. The partners will work together to create an innovation value chain that will develop hybrid hemp cultivars with the physical and functional traits valued by processors, food ingredient companies and consumers.

“It is great to see Protein Industries Canada continue supporting projects that add value to, and create new markets for, Canadian crops, generating local jobs and supporting new economic development in locations across Canada,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “By developing a hybrid hemp seed with higher yield, this project is helping strengthen the diversity and sustainability of Canada’s crops while solidifying Canada’s global leadership in plant-based ingredients.”

“Our agricultural sector is leading cutting-edge research, creating new novel-food ingredients and products, and adding value to home-grown commodities. This investment in developing top-quality and low-cost hemp protein will provide manufacturers and consumers with more options for plant-based products, while creating new markets and opportunities for our Canadian farmers,” The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said.

During the five-year project, partners will work to position hemp as a protein-rich crop with increased yields and expanded ingredient and food usages. The total project will see $5.7 million invested into the development of the innovation value chain and the ensuing identity preserved production system. Protein Industries Canada will invest $2.5 million, with the partners investing the remainder.

“The diversity and sustainability of Canadian crops are further strengthened with innovation and investment into new varieties,” CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said. “Improving the yield of hemp increases the profitability of the crop, bringing benefit to farmers, while also bringing more healthy and sustainable high-protein options for ingredient manufacturers and food processors.”

Fresh Hemp Foods, Farmer’s Business Network Canada and Verve are industry leaders in their respective fields. FBN manages hybrid canola and hemp breeding programs and together with Verve has the largest hemp seed genetics portfolio in North America. Verve, through its parent company HGI (2009), is one of the longest-serving hemp seed companies in North America and a leader in providing hemp varieties to the Canadian, US and international markets. Fresh Hemp Foods, established in 1998, is a global leader in contract hemp production, food ingredient processing and hemp-based consumer packaged goods. By the end of the project, hybrid hemp cultivars will be produced commercially, delivering value to all members of the value chain including commercial producers, processors and consumers.

“We are excited to collaborate with Fresh Hemp Foods and Farmer’s Business Network to develop hybrid hemp cultivars with the physical and functional traits valued by processors, food ingredient companies and consumers,” said Scott Horner, President of Verve Seed Solutions. “Consumers have signaled support for plant-based proteins, yet consumption has been limited by deficiencies in nutrition, price and taste/texture parity with conventional products. Utilization of hemp protein as a food ingredient can address nutrition and taste/texture challenges and development of hemp hybrids with significant yield advantage makes hemp a cost competitive option which will drive demand for production.”

“FBN has been involved in hemp breeding since obtaining a Health Canada research and breeding license in 2019. In that time, the breeding program has achieved several milestones, including developing Canada’s first high CBD feminized hemp hybrid and the first dual-use [flower and grain] dioecious hybrid,” Marko Gjuric, FBN’s Hemp Program Manager said. “We look forward to partnering with fellow industry leaders, Fresh Hemp Foods and Verve Seed Solutions, and working again with Protein Industries Canada to progress industrial hemp into becoming a viable commodity crop that will be integrated into Canadian growers’ regular rotation schedule.”

“Fresh Hemp Foods was a pioneer to introduce hemp foods to the Canadian marketplace and is excited to partner with Verve Seeds and the Farmers Business Network (FBN) to continue that leadership with hemp plant breeding innovations,” Fresh Hemp Foods Senior Director of Operations Clarence Shwaluk said. “Hemp is a nutritional powerhouse, containing all essential amino acids, a highly digestible protein profile, and is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. There is substantial room for growth, and higher farm yields will be crucial to maintaining our company’s top global position in hemp foods and creating benefits along the entire value chain.”

Protein Industries Canada is one of Canada’s five Global Innovation Clusters. Protein Industries Canada and our members are working to embrace the $25 billion opportunity presented by Canada’s ingredient manufacturing, food processing and bio-product sector. Projects such as these add value to, and create new markets for, Canadian crops, generating local jobs and supporting new economic development in locations across Canada. More information can be found at


About Verve Seed Solutions:

VERVE SEED SOLUTIONS INC is a pioneering hemp seed company created through the merger of Hemp Genetics International and Tritium 3H. Verve specializes in hemp breeding, field testing, seed production and Certified seed sales. Verve is focused on delivering “fit for purpose” hemp genetics with value added traits to hemp grain, fiber and cannabinoid producers in Canada, United States, Europe and South America.


About Farmer’s Business Network Canada, Inc. (FBN Canada)

FBN was founded nine years ago with the mission of empowering family farmers and improving their livelihoods as rural entrepreneurs. FBN has grown from a digital analytics network to a full commercial platform spanning over 75,000 farmer members that represent millions of acres across North America. FBN supports farmers in nearly all aspects of their operations including financing, sustainability, marketing, crop and livestock inputs, and more. Since their inception, their mission of putting Farmers First has guided their quest for innovation.


About Fresh Hemp Foods:

Fresh Hemp Foods was founded in 1998 and opened Canada’s first hemp-exclusive seed processing facility. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods is Fresh Hemp Foods’s branded food business with an extensive product portfolio of Hemp Hearts (shelled hemp seed), Hemp Protein Blends, Hemp breakfast staples, and Hemp Oil. Manitoba Harvest products are sold globally and in approximately 17,000 retail stores across North America.

Taking the seed-to-shelf approach since 1998, Manitoba Harvest is committed to quality, sustainability, and consumer wellness.


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