pesticide king is cotton. The cotton plant is very susceptible
to pests and therefore requires heavy pesticide spraying
and treatment. In 1995 for example, U. S. farmers applied
nearly 1/3 of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides
for every pound of cotton harvested.
of the chemicals used in cotton agriculture are among
the most toxic as classified by the U.S. Environmental
of the groundwater tested in agricultural regions around
the world has been contaminated by runoff from pesticides,
herbicides and fertilizers. Currently 15,000 lakes in
the United States are so contaminated that nothing can
live in them. In developing countries, pesticide and fertilizer
regulations are less stringent and the environmental damage
is even more severe.
the United States, fifty percent of all pesticides are
used on cotton, yet cotton uses only 1% of U.S. farmland.
To look at it another way, Cotton is grown on 3% of
the earth’s best arable land and uses a whopping
26% of the world’s pesticides.
is always thirsty, demanding heavy irrigation that drains
the land of its natural water supply.
exhausts the soil, forcing farmers to rely heavily on
developing countries, pesticide and fertilizer regulations
are less stringent and the environmental damage is even
more severe. Cotton is becoming more widely grown by
developing countries desperate for a cash crop to pay
Hemp vs. Industrial Cotton
you consider all of the above, the mass production of
cotton seems like a terrible choice as a primary agricultural
product. But then it seems absolutely insane when
you actually consider all the benefits that Hemp boasts
as an agricultural product. Consider the points below:
Hemp can be grown on a wide variety of soil types. In
fact Hemp is the only known plant that can be grown
from the Equator to the Arctic Circle and to the Antarctic
Circle; from the mountains to the valleys, from the
oceans to the plains, including arid lands and everywhere
in between. This means that Hemp doesn't have to tie
up prime agricultural real estate where only tender
agricultural stock can grow.
is actually good for soil. Unlike cotton, Hemp's long
roots penetrate up to 6 feet deep, breaking the soil,
aerating it and leaving it in perfect condition for
the next year's crop. After harvest, that same root
stock can be mulched into the soil returning the nutrients
back into the soil. In addition because of this root
system, Hemp is an ideal riverbed crop, helping prevent
soil erosion and mudslides. Perhaps one of the most
amazing facts about hemp and its benefits is that it
has a strong ability to clean up soil which has been
contaminated with toxic metals, pesticides, solvents,
gasoline, and explosives. Hemp is currently being used
to clean the toxins in the soil around Chernobyl.
is tough. It can grow without the use of fungicides,
pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Weeds are typically
a major problem in agriculture, and industrial Hemp
is an extremely efficient weed suppressor. For example
a normal crop will have 20 to 30 plants per square metre
thus shading out the weeds, leaving the fields weed-free
at harvest for the next crop. This means clean soil
and water where Hemp is farmed.
a crop, Hemp gives a great return on the farmland it
uses. On average, one acre of land can produce 1000
lbs of fine Hemp fiber, this amount is 2-3 times greater
than the yield of an acre of cotton.
a clothing product, Hemp beats cotton in a number of areas:
Cotton isn't necessarily all bad. Currently there is
a movement towards sustainable cotton farming practices.
Hemp Couture is very proud to use organically certified
cotton in some of its products.