The Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Seed Project Grants are one type of grant provided through the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment. Seed Projects often seek to explore or expand new dimensions of existing translational outreach, community-based research, and public engagement activities. Seed Projects are animated by innovative ideas and are shaped by the priorities, needs, and interests of the communities they serve.
The 2021 Seed Grants, as described in their submissions, are:
Acquiring and Synthesizing Foundational Knowledge for Hemp-Derived Products
Shelby Ellison, Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Unstable prices for traditional agricultural commodities have caused serious economic distress for Wisconsin farmers, forcing many to consider alternatives. Hemp can be used in numerous industries such as textile, construction, furniture, bioplastic, health, personal care, food, feed, beverage, and energy. The promise of hemp, with its hundreds of possible uses, potential suitability to the regional climate, and fast-growing emerging product markets, could be a welcome alternative for Wisconsin farmers. However, many of these products have never been made or tested at moderate scale and lack infrastructure or institutional knowledge. Hemp does have the potential to create jobs, increase agricultural diversity, and produce environmentally sustainable products but the industry is missing key foundational knowledge that will be critical for its future success. We will utilize the knowledge, experiences, and skills of a broad range of UW-Madison researchers, university collaborators and industry stakeholders to critically assess the feasibility and practicality of hemp paper, textiles, and building materials. We plan to form working groups and develop feasibility reports for each hemp product area. Reports will be presented during webinars and at workshops for hemp fiber processing and production of hemp paper, hemp fabric, and hempcrete. We hope this information will provide timely insight to agricultural and industry stakeholders regarding the feasibility of several hemp-derived products in Wisconsin and beyond.