The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) hosted the third annual Industrial Hemp Summit in February, which drew a sold-out crowd of around 400 attendees from 25 states. The two-day event is a multi-stakeholder collaboration focused on building the hemp industry in the United States. It focused on building the supply chain and market making for industrial hemp food, fiber and flower. It also highlighted innovation that is currently happening in the industry, as well as explored what resources and infrastructure are needed to move the industry forward.
IALR’s overall commitment is to help lead and build the emerging hemp industry. Among its many resources, IALR provides hemp testing services, hemp research, hemp programming and events, and hemp instructional videos at www.ialr.org/hemp. The Summit offers a unique experience for attendees because it is the only business-to-business event which takes place in a research facility that is actively involved with the hemp industry and actually doing research on the plant.
New this year, a pre-summit networking event allowed attendees to gather at Ballad Brewing, in Danville, for informal networking, music and food. The following two days, the Summit featured a packed schedule of speakers, industry panelists, networking and lab tours. Bill Richmond, Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Domestic Hemp Production Program, who leads the team responsible for the 2018 Farm Bill, spoke on the current state of the industry. “The good news for industry advocates is that the regulations are not yet set in stone. The USDA plans to use the 2020 growing season as a chance to test drive the interim rule and identify any needed changes before it is finalized,” Richmond said.
The event’s Presenting Sponsor was Huber, the technology leader for high precision thermoregulation. West Town Bank & Trust and US Agro Logistics were Supporting Sponsors. The County of Halifax, Va., Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Waters and Front Range Biosciences also served as Sponsors.