Bastcore sources its hemp from farms in Colorado, Kentucky, and Minnesota

Bastcore sources its hemp from farms in Colorado, Kentucky, and Minnesota

America's first contract to supply US-grown textile grade hemp for use in apparel production has been agreed with a Los Angeles-based clothing company, marking a milestone in the use of the previously outlawed fibre.

Nabraska-based Bastcore, which operates a proprietary processing system that converts hemp stalks into commercial materials for high-growth markets such as textiles, composites and energy, will supply California-based Recreator under the new deal.

The LA company is a creative co-op producing sustainable hemp fashion such as hoodies, T-shirts and sweatpants. However, since commercial hemp farming remains illegal in most US states, it has until now had to import its fibre and fabrics.

"This fibre supply contract marks a historic milestone in the US hemp industry, and particularly for American-made hemp textiles, since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill," says Bastcore founder John Lupien.

The organic hemp fibre provided by American farmers and processed by Bastcore will be spun into yarn, knit into fabric, and cut and sewn into finished garments in Los Angeles.

"This partnership should encourage rural communities to re-invest in natural fibres and textile production," says Recreator CEO Matt McClain. "We are excited to show the pull-through capacity of Recreator by implementing Bastcore's American-grown and processed hemp fibre into our premium apparel line."

Recreator uses hemp fibre because of its performance and sustainable properties, which include helping to conserve resources such as soil and water.

Growing industrial hemp, a variety of cannabis, was made illegal in the US in 1937. However, a provision in President Obama's 2014 Farm Bill removed hemp grown for research purposes from the Controlled Substances Act, the main federal drug law, in certain states.

It is understood Bastcore sources its hemp from farms in Colorado, Kentucky and Minnesota, and plans to work with farmers in North Carolina and New York as these states develop the legal framework for growing hemp. The company is also in talks to supply a number of other clothing manufacturers, including two large household name brands.

"This announcement is significant as it provides validation that not only is there a demand for domestically produced high quality textile grade hemp fibre, but now there is someone who can supply it," Bastcore added.

According to the USDA, hemp fibre is four times more durable than cotton, requires no pesticides, is a natural weed deterrent, and produces twice as much fibre per acre.