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What We Learned at NoCo Hemp Expo

It’s been just about one month since we headed to NoCo Hemp Expo in Loveland, CO. We had a jam-packed couple of days learning about industry trends and what motivates cannabis enthusiasts. Over 24,000 hemp advocates gathered together to network and learn from the top cannabis industry leaders.

Besides learning that we need to have a lot more business cards on hand, here’s what we learned while at the Expo:

Clean plants are in high demand among farmers

The growth of new high-value crops, cannabis in particular, has created the opportunity for innovation in this space. A lot of growers were interested in bulk and large-scale orders and wanted to know about the scientific background behind Clean Stock®.

We use tissue culture to remove pathogens, then multiply the tissue in our state-of-the-art, sterile lab where the plants remain free of viruses and pesticides. We then transfer them to our nursery where we acclimatize them and prepare them for the customers’ growing environment. Before the plants are given back to the grower, we test them for true-to-type characteristics of the mother plant to ensure uniform genetics throughout the supply chain.

In our varietal development program, we’re focused on agronomic traits that will improve economics for cultivators such as yield, disease resistance, oil output, and harvestability.

 

 

Farmers are from out of state and “out of industry”

This hemp expo was not just for Colorado farmers and entrepreneurs. A lot of growers came from out of state and even from other countries. It really was a diverse gathering of cannabis-enthusiasts from around the world. Many Canadians visited, proving that hemp is a growing agricultural product north of the border. Cultivators have emerged from many geographies to fulfill the demand for cannabis, blending traditional growing techniques with modern agricultural practices.

The most interesting part was that people who came to the Expo were not necessarily from a cannabis, science, or agricultural background. They came from outside of the industry, such as real estate, retail, and healthcare, looking to get involved in this booming industry. People weren’t just interested in our Clean Stock® process, they wanted to leverage their own company and processes to make the industry better.

 

 

Tissue Culture was a hot topic

Tissue culture has been around for years in agriculture to rid plants of disease, and ensure consistency, however it’s relatively new to the hemp industry. In fact, we have developed the first industrial scale tissue culture production process for cannabis as part of our Clean Stock® process, that is plants grown in accordance with a set of practices, which frees them of pathogens and pesticides, saving farmers wasted money and havoc caused by diseased plants.

Attendees were fascinated with the program and the ability to order plants based on their production schedule. A lot of farmers are in the process of building indoor grows and need information about the non-traditional growing methods, like tissue culture.

Currently, we are using the process to produce popular varietals in the current market, but we can also take a grower’s own varieties and put through our Clean Stock® process.

The strong interest from growers excites us and will provide them with a strong supply chain from the start, resulting in higher yield and stronger economics.

 

 

Hemp Comes in Many Forms

As legalization takes place across the US, the potential for hemp increases. The scope has broadened to include hemp being cultivated for many products like clothing, paper, food, and beverages. For example, it’s been brewed into coffee and beer. At the Expo, products of every type were there including protein powder, honey, bath bombs, clothing, and flooring.

Hemp is derived from the plant cannabis sativa. While it does contain the psychedelic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, it has lower THC levels and higher concentrations of cannabidiol, which decreases or eliminates the psychoactive effects. Therefore, it can be used for a variety of products. At the Expo, attendees were interested in these commercial aspects and wanted to learn about our Clean Stock® process to make the cleanest hemp possible from the start.

Hemp is becoming a business that can achieve financial success, but to ensure high margins and sound economic business plans, it’s imperative to reduce waste caused by disease. The industry is experiencing a 27 per cent compound annual growth rate and we at FRB want to protect that growth. Consumers and cultivators should never fear contaminated product caused by pathogens or disease, which is why our Clean Stock® program is so useful. It checks all three boxes of being pesticide-free, disease-free, and true-to-type to limit costly variations and risks for the cultivator.

We look forward to next year’s NoCo Hemp Expo to see the progress the cannabis industry will make. The business-focused information, market intelligence and analysis from leaders and influencers in the hemp industry will only be useful moving forward.

Nick Hofmeister

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