The Hemp Alliance of Tennessee (HAT) is partnering with the state Department of Agriculture (TDA) to conduct a research study to assess the feasibility of hemp fiber production for the automotive industry and other sectors of the economy. 

According to an HAT press release, the University of Tennessee will conduct the study, which is expected to take place now through the end of next year.

“We are an agricultural state, and we are proud to be a hemp-producing state,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher said. “This plant has numerous applications, and we believe fiber has [the] potential to grow Tennessee’s industrial economy. We support this work led by the Hemp Alliance of Tennessee and look forward to reviewing the research conducted by the University of Tennessee to assess the potential scale of that growth.”

The feasibility analysis will include creating a budget for Tennessee farmers regarding the state’s costs, revenue, and profits of processing hemp fiber. The budget will also include transportation and supply chain logistics. 

A portion of the study will also evaluate the “likelihood for successful Tennessee-based production and processing for the various major uses of hemp fiber,” the release states.

Frederick Cawthon, president of HAT, said he thinks Tennessee could become a leader in the hemp industry if “we engage our innovators and the industries that can benefit from the plant— and our Legislature continues to help make the right investments in the plant’s myriad applications.”