Hemp conference planned for Dec. 17 | TheFencePost.com

Hemp conference planned for Dec. 17

Northeastern Junior College and the Eastern Colorado Small Business Development Center are preparing to host the NJC Hemp Conference on Dec. 17.

The all-day conference is designed to offer a broad and in-depth look at hemp production so interested potential growers can make an informed decision about joining the industry. The program includes terminology and basic information, a market overview and considerations prior to growing, the current legal status, banking status, growing hemp for grain and fiber, growing hemp for CBD and Farmers Alliance, risk analysis, enterprise budgets, pests, equipment, federal implications, state registration, testing, compliance, and expenses, followed by a question and answer session.

Andy Bartlett, NJC crop and soil science instructor, said the hemp industry has exploded and NJC and the ECSBDC are trying to meet the need for information, especially for producers who are looking at the crop to diversify their operation to find profitability in what has been a tough economic year.

Bartlett said the conference is designed to be beneficial to current farmers and those new to farming as well. Bartlett, a farmer himself, said there is much to learn, something he’s seen firsthand.

“I’ve lived on our family farm my whole life but a year ago if you would have asked me to grow hemp a year ago, I would have been lost,” he said. “There’s some things even if you’re a producer already that you’ll have to pick up on to raise it successfully.”

Bartlett said he realizes the amount of information can be overwhelming and he has worked in partnership to ensure the conference offers valuable information from sources that are experienced and knowledgeable in their respective fields. One of the speakers, he said, is a current grower in the area with over 1,000 acres in production who is prepared to offer a look at all sides of the issues from labor ­— that operation utilized Mongolian guest workers in the H-2A program — to processing.

“We’re not out to say this is what everyone should be raising, in fact, it’s kind of the opposite,” he said. “We want to give people the information and let them decide for themselves. We want to make sure people are well versed in what it takes to raise this before they jump in.”

The conference will be held at Northeastern Junior College Hays Student Center Ballroom, 100 College Ave., Sterling, CO 80751. The conference starts at 7 a.m. and the wrap up and question and answer session starts at 5 p.m. For more information and to register, go to https://www.njc.edu/calendar/event/121719/northeastern-junior-college-hemp-conference. ❖

— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 392-4410.