An article by Monica Vendituoli, Reporter for the Denver Business Journal. We have provided the text of the DBJ’s article discussing Colorado hemp and cannabis companies, as their website is gated off for subscription-only viewing. Read the article below:
“A moldy or disease-riddled cannabis crop yield can cause a disaster for even the most sophisticated cannabis or hemp product makers. That’s why local companies are using technology to ensure that the farming quality of cannabis and hemp products remains high.
“‘[Farmers] need to use seeds and young plants that will adapt to a specific region, climate and utilize as little excess resources as possible,’ Jonathan Vaught, CEO and co-founder of Front Range Biosciences, said in an email.
“Founded in 2015, Front Range Biosciences is a Lafayette-based agricultural biotech company that serves coffee, hemp and cannabis producers. The company uses technology to improve plant breeding, eliminate pests and abolish plant diseases. For instance, the Front Range Biosciences’ Clean Stock program uses tissue cultures to help make sure that young plants are healthy.
“Founded in 2014, the Denver-based vertically integrated company grows, processes and packages cannabis. Seed & Smith also offers public tours of its cannabis-growing facility.
“Two ways that Seed & Smith is using technology to improve cannabis growing is through new irrigation and lighting equipment.
“‘Our automated irrigation system allows our growers to focus their efforts on caring for the plant in more ways than around-the-clock watering,’ Mike Lempert, logistics director at Seed & Smith, said. ‘In any one of our research rooms you can find our growers testing out new LEDs, different nutrient-delivery methods or growing mediums.’
“Another firm working to improve cannabis agriculture is Veritas Farms. The vertically integrated CBD company is headquartered in Florida, but operates a 140-acre farm and production facility in Pueblo.
“Derek Thomas, Veritas Farms’ vice president of business development, said his company has used advanced irrigation techniques to improve its farming infrastructure. Thomas says the company expects that these changes will enhance the overall health and quality of the soil.
“Cannabis extraction, or how farmers separate different components of the cannabis plant and remove the parts that are not needed, is also a technology trend in growing.
“Stephen Mueller founded Mile High Labs in 2016 to develop technology-based solutions for the CBD extraction process. The company now also offers co-packing services to manufacturers, retailers and companies.
“Earlier this year, the Boulder-based CBD manufacturer unveiled its ‘Mile High Monster’ — a patent-pending modular extraction facility it says will boost hemp farms’ extraction capacities.
“‘The Monster eliminates the bottleneck by rapidly extracting crude oil from the hemp plant at a rate of up to 50 acres per day,’ Mueller, now CTO, told DBJ.
“‘This machine is expected to increase the yield of hemp farmers by 500%,’ he added.
“A future trend that Thomas, of Veritas Farms, believes will become a reality soon is the ability for farmers to more precisely mix different strains of cannabis by creating new cannabinoid-ratio profiles.
“‘We are looking forward to being able to produce different strains that have higher concentrations of different cannabinoids and terpene profiles in the future,’ Thomas said.”
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