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Project Grant


Grant Description
High-valued, biobased materials and products (BBMP) manufactured from hemp can be an economic development driver for Northwestern Native American tribes. Thirteen tribes within the geopolitical boundaries of California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have expressed interest in investing in hemp production, biobased manufacturing, and utilization on their reservations. They have agreed to form an Intertribal Business Consortium that partners with rural businesses, technology providers, universities and colleges, federal research centers, and other organizations to identify the most feasible opportunities to link production, materials processing, and biobased manufacturing to produce BBMP made from hemp.

Our project builds on earlier USDA-supported projects that have developed relationships with tribes and made general assessments of private technology provider needs tribal interests in hemp. This project uses and integrated research, extension, and education objectives to define specific business opportunities that can be utilized to draw investments to establish a competitive, biobased manufacturing sector in the region.

With the relatively low yields of high-quality textile fibers produced from hemp stalks, a whole-system value proposition for hemp-derived bioproducts is needed so multiple or even overlapping process flows and supply networks are developed that utilize materials for a suite of produced BBMP. Our focus on assessing commercial hemp fiber production requires integrated planning and coordination of supply chain operations to develop tribe-centric production and processing capabilities.

As such, we leverage existing tribe and non-tribe resources, capacities, and infrastructure with a community capitals framework to identify the most resilient production opportunities. Through ongoing engagement with hemp producers and processors, we have identified a set of core hemp materials and end-products. A technology classification categorizes have identified value-added BBMP and serves as a starting point for commercial viability analysis. Our preliminary analyses suggest these products have different levels of manufacturing-supply chain and institutional complexity that will affect how the industry can achieve scaled production.

We focus on four key objectives:
(I) Enable tribal communities to develop a biobased economy utilizing hemp through engagement and education. Working collaboratively with Native American tribes' existing educational resources and business development structures, we will develop an educated and skilled multicultural workforce that can effectively engage in biobased manufacturing with a focus on tribal communities, specifically K-12, community colleges, university students, and tribal leaders and community members.
(II) Using a whole-system approach, we will discover optimal hemp BBMP quality and biobased manufacturing systems efficiencies through breeding, field production, harvest/handling, and processing research with a primary focus on the potential utilization of the whole plant to concurrently generate multiple product income streams with no waste as is done by other commodities such as cotton, corn, and soybean. Dedicated fiber varieties and new genetic materials created through genomic selection will be assessed under a range of field production, harvest/handling, and processing methods to understand how bast fiber and hurd yields and quality are affected by four commercial production, harvest, and primary processing (PHPP) systems.
(III) Determine optimal materials characteristics, equipment, facilities, and technology provider configurations to establish sustainable BBMP manufacturing pipelines. Materials and byproducts produced from select PHPP combinations will be characterized for their physical and chemical properties and the data used to identify their potential for the highest-valued, triple-bottom line, commercial use in four materials processing to products biomanufacturing (MPPB) pathways based on manufacturers' specifications.
(IV) Support intertribal hemp fiber production and value-added biobased manufacturing and trading business networks. There are multiple systems and technological solutions available to address gaps in a modern industrial biomanufacturing economy which can be addressed by an integrated education and engagement approach that enables the development of a modern technical workforce, including equipping the non-native partners. Information generated from the systems analyses will be used to improve overall triple-bottom-line system performance and make recommendations to the IBC members on options for selecting investment opportunities.

The results from this project will provide IBC decision makers; economic developers; financiers; and government agency service providers; policy makers; and regulators the science/business-based information they need to evaluate the technical, economic, environmental, and social implications of investing in a biobased manufacturing economy. Our intent is to build out a domestic advanced biomanufacturing sector that competes in world markets and which can create new wealth and jobs and foster further economic growth, not only on reservations, but across rural America and contribute towards a lowered-carbon 21st century.

The project addresses a USDA National Institute of Food and Agricultural requirement that the Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) program significantly advance the bioeconomy and has an emphasis on generating benefits for underserved communities. This project is deeply rooted in the land grant university mission to provide opportunities for all people and to equip the next generation for service to help meet the needs of American people, families, and communities with the basics to sustain life through nutritious food for health, clothing, and shelter. Through this project, we desire to restore and provide restitution to Native American nations upon which t,he sacrifice and contribution of their lands and culture made possible the establishment of the land grant university system. This project supports both the White House Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy and the Justice 40 Initiative to help confront decades of under-investment in under-represented communities. The outcomes from this effort can be extended beyond the five-year tenure of the project by leveraging federal investments through the Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, American Rescue Plan, and other USDA and federal business development programs.
Funding Goals
Place of Performance
Corvallis, Oregon 97331 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
Oregon State University was awarded Hemp Biobased Manufacturing for Northwestern Native American Tribes Project Grant 20246801241751 worth $10,000,000 from the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment in March 2024 with work to be completed primarily in Corvallis Oregon United States. The grant has a duration of 5 years and was awarded through assistance program 10.310 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The Project Grant was awarded through grant opportunity Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Agricultural Systems.


Last Modified 3/5/24

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
5.0% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
100.0% Federal Funding
0.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Interactive chart of timeline of amendments to 20246801241751

Subgrant Awards

Disclosed subgrants for 20246801241751

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
Public/State Controlled Institution Of Higher Education
Awarding Office
Funding Office
Awardee UEI
Awardee CAGE
Performance District
Jeff Merkley
Ron Wyden
Modified: 3/5/24