By Jensen Werley —
LOVELAND — The NoCo Hemp Expo returns this weekend and will host feature some of the first U.S.-built equipment necessary for the fledgling industry.
The festival will take place Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1, at The Ranch Events Complex in Loveland.
About 4,000 people are expected to come to the fourth annual event, Morris Beegle, festival organizer and founder of Colorado Hemp Co., told BizWest.
In addition to being larger than last year — about 3,000 people came in 2016, Beegle said — a new feature this year will be a tent designated for hemp artists and activists.
Another new addition will be a showcase for hemp equipment, including some of the first production equipment built in the United States.
The GrassHopper, made by Power Zone Equipment, collects and stores profitable hemp. It is the first of its kind to be built stateside — in Center, Colo. — and is directly attributed to Colorado’s growing hemp industry.
Having agricultural equipment at the Expo will be a chance to showcase innovations in agriculture because of hemp.
“Farming equipment and technology is something we have to figure out as a fledgling industry,” Beegle said. “It’s exciting to have a company like Power Zone, with the ability to make most anything, looking for new opportunities and excited about hemp.”
Beegle said as this type of farming grows, the processing side will take off, so farmers have a place where they can bring their crop and have it processed.
Because Amendment 64 opened the door for hemp production when it legalized recreational marijuana use in Colorado, the state is a leader in the farming practice, hence the need for and growth of events like the Hemp Expo.
“Colorado is a leader in industrial hemp now,” Beegle said. “Amendment 64 allowed us to get a head start on everyone else. It’s a natural draw to Colorado and brings attention to North Colorado. This area has really embraced hemp.”
Registration for the event is available here.