The East Colorado SBDC hosted this conference for the first time in February 2019 with Aims Community College in Greeley, CO.  This conference is in such high demand and has continued to generate interest. Because of this demand the East Colorado SBDC  will be offering the conference again in 2020 and has established a series of top-notch educational hemp seminars.

Our introductory three-hour short courses, Harnessing Hemp – Planting The Seed, will equip aspiring producers with the knowledge and information needed to determine if the hemp industry is right for them. All attendees of these Planting The Seed courses will receive priority registration for the two-day conference, Harnessing Hemp – Cultivating A Businesses.   This comprehensive two-day conference will teach agricultural producers about this incredibly versatile plant and the infrastructure surrounding it.  Providing the knowledge and connections they need in order to be successful and competitive in the growing hemp market. 

Harnessing Hemp

Cultivating a Business

Are you ready to jump into hemp production? 

Join the East CO SBDC and partners for the Harnessing Hemp-Cultivating a Business two-day conference. 

This conference is designed to equip aspiring producers with the knowledge and connections they need to be successful in the growing hemp market. Attendees will hear from industry experts, lenders, and buyers. As part of the LEADING EDGE Strategic Planning Series, Harnessing Hemp delivers comprehensive training to small businesses and has presentations geared to help both start-up and existing businesses in the areas of regulations, finance, marketing, operations, and more. LEADING EDGE courses are highly interactive, which ensures the flow of information not just from the instructor, but between participants as well. 

Discover the steps it’ll take to cultivate your hemp business.

Day 1

History of Hemp: How did we get here?

Understanding of the history of the hemp crop and the industry.
Presenter: Kirk Goble, Aims Community College

Hemp Market Overview

Understanding of the current market size, predicted growth, different uses for hemp and where demand currently is. 
Presenter: Michael Bright

Best Practices for Success When Starting a Hemp Business

Identify the biggest barriers new hemp growers will face and understand best practices when considering starting a hemp business.
Presenter: Michael Bright

Farmer Real Talk Lunch Panel

Farmers share their first-hand experience with the crop and share tips and other best practices.
Presenter: Stephen Smith, OKF Farm LLC and
Presenter: Tyler Blanks, Full Spectrum Farmaceuticals

Business Planning with Business Model Canvas

Using the Business Model Canvas to plan and establish goals for your new hemp business venture. 
Presenter: Stephen Smith, OKF Farm LLC
Presenter: Tyler Blanks, Full Spectrum Farmaceuticals

Navigating Regulations

Understand how to stay compliant with current regulations and how to obtain approval to grow hemp. 
Presenter: Brian Koontz, Colorado Department of Ag

Water Use

Understand water use, augmentation regulations and transportation of water.  
Presenter: Chris Grimes, Ground Water Commission Staff, Colorado Division of Water Resources

Creative Financing

What financing options are currently available (debt, equity, etc), when would you use each and what are the pros and cons of each of these financing options. 
Presenter: Laurie Jones, East Colorado SBDC
Presenter: Mike O’Donnell, Colorado Lending Source
Presenter: Peter Gregory, Assured Consultancy
Presenter: Ed Riner, Choice Business Development LLC

Day 2

Reducing Liability

Learn how to reduce the risks and liabilities of growing, selling, and transporting industrial hemp.​
Presenter (Attorney): David Bush, Hoban Law Group
Presenter (Insurance): Brian C. Richardson, Foundations Insurance & Financial Services

Plant Genetics

Get a basic understanding of hemp genetics, considerations for selection and how to understand testing results. 
Presenter: Andrew B. Hatch, Hatch Consulting Group LLC

Soil Health & Testing

Understand cultivation vulnerabilities and the impact of soil health on production and  profit and how to understand plant testing results. 
Presenter: Judy Daniels, Soil Sage LLC

Cultivation & Operations

Considerations for getting started (seed, water, equipment, etc). Understanding crop management, storage and transportation. ​
Presenter: Bethleen McCall, Colorado Hemp Industries Association Presenter: Randy Wright, FormationAg


Understanding basic processing methods used in the hemp industry as well as current best practices within the industry.  What methods are currently being used in the industry, what a processor expects from a grower when purchasing a product, and what can a grower do to get the best price.
Presenter: Kirk Goble, AIMS Community College
Presenter: Patrick Heisler, Trinity Hemp, LLC

Financial Analysis Review

Work 1-on-1 with local business consultants for financial analysis and feasibility of your operation. 

Choose Your Location

Greeley, CO
March 6 -7, 2020


University of Northern Colorado
2101 10th Ave
Greeley, CO 80631

Startup Colorado is offering  scholarship opportunities for each of the Harnessing Hemp – Cultivating a business Conference to entrepreneurs in Colorado. Scholarship will cover the entire registration fee for the conference. Please submit your scholarship applications to Startup Colorado by March 2, 2020.

Click the link below for available scholarship applications. 

Together, let’s Harness Hemp!

Harnessing Hemp

Planting The Seed

Join the East CO SBDC for an introduction to hemp farming! With our partners across Northeastern Colorado, we’ll discuss the hemp market, its current legal status, and the top consideration for getting started.

Current Legal Status

Understand the current legal status of hemp and what current challenges hemp growers face.

Hemp Market Overview

Understanding of the current market size, predicted growth, different uses for hemp and where current demand is.

Top Considerations Before Starting

Understand what are the topmost important considerations that should be researched before investing.

Choose Your Location

Please note that all Planting The Seed events will consist of the three-hour short course listed above.  In addition, the course in Sterling, on December 17th will be in partnership with Northeastern Junior College and include the three-hour short course provided by the East Colorado SBDC, as well as additional programming throuh NJC including; irrigation principles, crop production, soil science and more!

All Harnessing Hemp – Planting the Seed attendees will receive priority registration for two-day intensive workshop to start cultivating your hemp business. Harnessing Hemp – Cultivating a Business will take place in Fort Lupton, CO on January 16 – 17 and Greeley, CO on March 6 – 7