YORK â€” The Midwest Hemp Forum had a stop in York to discuss the possibilities and policies surrounding the up-and-coming Nebraska hemp industry.
Over 200 people attended to learn more about growing industrial hemp. â€śWe did have good attendance, and we appreciate everyone coming out,â€ť said Midwest Hemp Forum said event coordinator Colin Fury. The event entailed speakers, exhibitors and a question-and-answer session with hemp experts â€“ from researchers to producers.
There were two main questions that kept coming up, Fury said. â€śThe hot topic was not being able to get licensed this year. Thereâ€™s a lot of frustration.â€ť Fury also said potential producers in the audience were thinking ahead as to whether there is a strong enough infrastructure to take the harvested product to market, namely processors. â€śThe speakers recommended to be sure to find a processor first,â€ť Fury said.
One of the concerns members of the panel said was CBD products being mislabeled and misrepresented. The cannabis extract has been researched in the treatment of anxiety, brain function, movement disorders, and pain.
Three sponsors of the forum were Brent Broberg of Broberg Organics, John Lupien of Hemp Technology Innovations, and George Jones of Great Plains Seed Company.
Broberg Organics is a family-owned, organic worm farm in Tilden, Neb. The Antelope County farm uses African nightcrawlers to create what they call â€śnatureâ€™s purest, darkest, and safest organic fertilizer found on todayâ€™s market.â€ť The African nightcrawler castings are ideal for hemp producers, Fury said.
Hemp Technology Innovations is out of Cass County. Lupien is widely regarded as one of Nebraskaâ€™s leading bast (hemp fiber) crop experts. He has over 20 years of experience in the hemp industry. Because of his crop sciences and processing technologies expertise, Lupien has developed two machine patents for bast crops. Lupien is in the process of building a state-of-the-art fiber processing plant in Nebraska, which will connect with a supply chain meant to find hemp product market solutions.
George Jones of Great Plains Seed Company was also in attendance. Jones and company are working with University of Nebraska geneticists to both create and provide different types of hemp seed for farmers â€“ tailored for their specific product or products.
Fury said a touching moment during the forum was when Greg Hollaway of Bee, Neb. opened the event by leading the Pledge of Allegiance. â€śGreg is a Vietnam veteran who supports farmers being able to produce hemp,â€ť Fury explained.
The Midwest Hemp Forum â€“ a nonprofit entity — has information on many hemp situations across the nation, but focuses in on Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. Final details for the next forum â€“ in Syracuse, Neb. â€“ will be posted on their Facebook page; search â€śMidwest Hemp Forum.â€ť
Fury also recommended that anyone curious about hemp production in Nebraska go to https://nda.nebraska.gov/hemp/