This week Earl Pendleton, Director of Industrial Help, Agriculture, and Construction at the Lower Sioux Community, showed U.S. Senator Tina Smith the interior of a house built from hempcrete. (KLGR photo)

Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Tina Smith visited the Lower Sioux Community to visit the new “hempcrete” project.


Hempcrete is a mixture of hemp, water, and a binder extracted from limestone. It is an environmentally-friendly building material, not only because hemp is a carbon-negative crop, but because it also provides better insulation and is pest resistant. The Lower Sioux Community has built three homes and a shed with the material, with plans to continue building.

Sen. Smith is on U.S. Senate committees involved with housing, ag, health, and Indian Affairs, so the Lower Sioux hempcrete project already fits in perfectly with a number of her existing priorities in Washington DC.

The hempcrete demonstration house was sided with conventional materials to show how it can blend into residential neighborhoods if the owners desire. (KLGR photo)

After Smith’s visit to a hempcrete demonstration house at the Lower Sioux Community this week, KLGR spoke with Earl Pendleton, Director of Industrial Hemp, Agriculture, and Construction about why the senator’s visit was significant:

Pendleton said hempcrete goes beyond economics:

Pendleton said the community’s short term goal is to build healthier homes for citizens, while the long term goal is to provide hempcrete blocks and pre-fab walls for quicker and more efficient building time.