NoCo Hemp Expo in its fifth year and growing | TheFencePost.com

NoCo Hemp Expo in its fifth year and growing

The 2018 NoCo Hemp Expo is looking to be the largest yet, and will have a larger emphasis on the farm side of the industry than in the past.

The expo will be April 6-7 at The Ranch Events Complex in Loveland, Colo. The two-day event will have exhibitors in the First National Bank Building and the rest of the expo will take place in the McKee Building on the grounds.

Morris Beegle, founder of Noco Hemp Expo, estimates attendance to be between 5,500 and 6,000. In its fifth year, the expo has grown significantly, with attendance expected to break another record.

As the popularity of the hemp industry grows, so does the interest in the expo. Beegle attributed that to the increased awareness and education surrounding the hemp industry. But, there is still work to do.

"I think we've done a good job, but we still have a ways to go to educate the public and educate our legislators and educate law enforcement that we're talking about two different things here," he said, referring to the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Beegle became active in the hemp industry in 2012 — the year Amendment 64 went into effect in Colorado. Amendment 64 is the voter-approved legislation that changed the state's constitution to allow people 21 and older to have and use marijuana. When Amendment 64 was approved, it also opened the gate for hemp to be grown.

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Beegle said he grew up in Loveland and left the state to pursue a career in the music industry. In 1995, he returned to Colorado and it was about that time he learned about the hemp industry.

FARM SYMPOSIUM

New this year is the Farm Symposium, which will take place April 7. The symposium will focus on different aspects of the agricultural side of the hemp industry, with topics ranging from genetics, to banking, to using hemp as animal feed.

"I think the greater ag community … are going to start really taking notice," Beegle said. "And that's one of the main reasons for launching the farm symposium is, we want farmers to know about this crop and that it's an option for them to use as a rotational crop with their corn or with their hay or alfalfa or whatever it might be."

A big reason why farmers, who might be interested, haven't grown the crop is the federal regulations over cannabis products, which includes hemp.

Hemp seed and hemp oil are not considered a controlled substance under federal regulation, but the rest of the plant still is, so there is more risk than normal for farmers.

Aside from the unpredictability that comes with farming, crop insurance isn't available for hemp farmers because it's technically not legal under federal law. That's a big protector many farmers rely on.

Beegle said he understands that's a concern, and one the symposium will address.

"The bottom line is, the federal government hasn't come in at this point and shut anything down. There hasn't been any action taken by any of these agencies to come after a farmer who's legitimately growing this crop," he said. ❖

— Fox is a reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at sfox@thefencepost.com, (970) 392-4410 or on Twitter @FoxonaFarm.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis, but hemp doesn’t have the same psychoactive properties marijuana does. Hemp can be used for clothing, paper, body care products, animal feed and medicine.

Hemp contains less than 1 percent THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana.

Tickets/Pricing

Tickets are available for purchase at nocohempexpo.com. They will be available at the door, at a higher price, while supplies last.