The U.S. military and researchers at a Wisconsin university are discussing making hemp fiber to replace imported polyester and polymer in Army vehicles – a potential partnership that would return the state to the days it was the epicenter of fiber production during both World Wars.
To make it a reality, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are working to create a textile that the military can test. Two state lawmakers, meanwhile, are leading the charge to pass legislation that would grant $250,000 to the research effort.
“Let’s reposition Wisconsin as the No. 1 hemp fiber state in the nation,” said Paul Fowler, executive director of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology at UW-Stevens Point. “Let’s make sure that we’re using the entire plant and all the potential that it has built in.”
Most U.S growers raise hemp to create CBD products, but the plant can be transformed for many uses.
The military wants to use it for seat belts, seat covers or uniforms because officials believe hemp fiber material can be safer and more durable – and it can be made in the United States as opposed to imported from other countries during geopolitical tensions. That’s according to Fowler and two state lawmakers who talked with representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense in early February.