2020 has been a pivotal year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has made a tremendous impact nationwide and globally. These uncertain times have forced businesses, farmers, restaurants, and the hemp community to shift quickly and respond to safety concerns to protect industries.
The producers of the NoCo Hemp Expo and the Experience Hemp SUMMER SOLSTICE Virtual Conference & Trade Show made the hard decision to reschedule NoCo7 to the following year, which will now take place March 25-27, 2021.
“The decision to reschedule NoCo7 was not easy, but we felt the need to protect everyone’s health and safety. This community is so collaborative. That’s what’s going to make this industry stand out as we look towards the future,” said Morris Beegle, Let’s Talk Hemp Media Co-founder and Producer of NoCo Hemp Expo. “We’re excited about in-person events, but until we get the green light, we will continue to plan virtual conferences that further educates and unites our industry.”
Additionally, NoCo Hemp Expo producers are expanding multimedia platforms, including a year in review, fall virtual conference & trade show, a hemp-themed digital magazine, podcasts, weekly newsletter, and more. Stay tuned for additional details on NoCo7 at www.nocohempexpo.com.
SUMMER SOLSTICE Conference Highlights Innovation; Call for Unity
As NoCo7 organizers chart a new course for the second half of this year, the recently held Experience Hemp SUMMER SOLSTICE Virtual Conference & Trade Show, held June 16-19, 2020, was well received.
More than thirty guest speakers, including presenting sponsor PureHemp Technologies, kicked off conversations centered on the evolution of hemp and its potential during these ever-changing times. Participants accessed six live webcast Supersessions, which covered important topics relevant to the industrial hemp market today:
· Innovation: Technology Advances Across the Hemp Supply Chain
· Investor Outlook & the Financial Future of The Hemp Industry
· Food Sovereignty, Nutrition & Hemp’s Role
· Bast & Hurd: Industrial Hemp Opportunities in Building, Biocomposites, Biofuels & More
· The 2020 Hemp Crop: Harvesting, Drying, Handling & Finding Markets
Among the highlights included an earnest discussion on the arbitrary .3% vs. the 1% solution in which hemp advocates declared the current ruling as a roadblock for farmers. “We need to change federal guidelines while working with the USDA. We can do that by telling the stories of the farmers. Their stories will hopefully get us there so we can stop decriminalizing the pioneers of our industry. Without the farmers, we have nothing,” says Doug Fine, bestselling author, hemp farmer, and renowned industry advocate.
Beegle agreed, “There is so much passion in our industry, and this .3% burden should not be on the farmer’s shoulders. Our only option in getting legislation passed is to stand together. We know there is a better solution out there, we need to unite on all fronts.”
Additionally, panelists discussed hemp’s potential in using the entire plant for fiber, textiles, building materials and more, and addressed hemp as a key ingredient for food sovereignty.
Participants also heard from investors regarding hemp’s economic outlook and viability as a commodity beyond the CBD market. “Fiber and hurd are the next big thing. Before, it was all about CBD and smokable flower. Let’s get the right suppliers with the right buyers and bring the best products to market,” said Julie Lerner, CEO, PanXchange, Inc. “We are in a nascent stage, and we still have some growing up to do, but need to be taken seriously.”
Geoff Whaling, a hemp industry leader, offered sound advice for hemp farmers and manufacturers during these uncertain times. “Buckle down. Believe in your business and do not let anyone test your conviction,” said Whaling, Collective Growth Corporation. “In the words of a famous quote, ‘The dreams never die, just the dreamers.”
Dreaming big might be the plan for many hemp farmers this year, but dreaming too big without the right strategy could be troublesome. “I encourage every farmer out there right now to talk about their end-use. Have a plan in place for the hemp you put in the field today,” said Andrew Bish, CMO, Bish Enterprises. “Decisions made later are not good – sort it out now, before it’s too late.”
Traceability and supply chain were also significant points of discussion during the conference. Panelist Joe Witte urged companies to integrate an authentic supply chain and one that is trustworthy. “Embrace traceability because the companies and manufacturers that realize that traceability is everything are the ones who will win.”
Sustainability and Food of the Future
Hemp plays a vital role in sustainability and has the potential to be a superfood. It is high in antioxidants and could appeal to people everywhere for its health benefits. However, there are still some challenges that food brands face in order for them to include hemp as an ingredient in food.
“We are putting a chokehold on this planet with the limitations. We need to be building the relationship with this plant,” said Winona LaDuke, hemp farmer, and nationally known environmental activist. “It’s all about cooperation these days. We need to learn together and form the next economy in equality and in our food system.”
Investors believe that there is still a learning curve when it comes to hemp, yet they remain hopeful. “The birth of an industry doesn’t happen overnight. Entrepreneurs and investors need to recalculate, especially right now,” explained Patrick Rea, CEO, and Founder, Canopy Boulder. “Hemp companies need to take a look and a lesson from the natural products industry and study its success, including dynamics, value propositions, and growth over time.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Experience Hemp SUMMER SOLSTICE Virtual Conference & Trade Show, visit the content Library and viewing pre-recorded archive footage from around the world.
What’s Next: Fall Event – WAFBA Virtual Conference and Trade Show
We Are For Better Alternatives (WAFBA), in conjunction with NoCo Hemp Expo and Let’s Talk Hemp media are also pleased to announce plans for a third virtual event coming this fall on November 11-13, 2020. Details and registration will open soon.