FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NoCo8 Hemp Expo Rejuvenates, Reunites and Resets Industry
2-day trade show re-boot at Gaylord Convention Center draws thousands. Organizers kick off Southern Hemp Expo for Nashville show Aug. 18-20.
What: Southern Hemp Expo exhibitor and sponsor opportunities now open
Where: Nashville Fairgrounds, Nashville, TN
When: Aug. 18-20, 2022
Exhibitor and Sponsorship information available HERE.
AURORA, CO (March 29, 2022) — Exhibitors, visitors and speakers experienced a rejuvenating camaraderie and renewed sense of purpose for the hemp industry at the 8th Annual NoCo Hemp Expo held at the Gaylord Convention Center in Aurora, CO March 23-25, 2022.
Organizers are already announcing plans for the Southern Hemp Expo, a sister event planned for Aug. 18-20 in Nashville, TN.
NoCo Industry Reboot
More than 120 industry speakers and experts filled four stages over two days at the stunning Gaylord facilities in Aurora, bringing together members of an industry that has endured challenges with the global pandemic, regulatory uncertainty and an emerging supply chain. Industrial hemp was legalized nationally in the 2018 Farm Bill.
The longest running hemp trade show in the United States covers the entire hemp supply chain from CBD to food, fiber, fashion, building materials, biocomposites and more. More than 150 exhibitors were present, representing the entrepreneurs of the nation’s emerging hemp industry. Speakers included Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg.
“We are finally rebuilding and resetting this year after some challenges,” said organizer Morris Beegle of We Are For Better Alternatives (WAFBA) and Colorado Hemp Company.
“We were feeling renewed excitement and camaraderie at the Gaylord, and deals were being hammered out again,” he added.
Organizers pivoted and moved the venue on short notice to the Gaylord, after their former site, Denver’s Crowne Plaza, became unavailable due to a government humanitarian program contracting with the hotel.
“We got a chance to upgrade to the Gaylord and this stellar venue really added to the vibrancy of the event,” Beegle said.
Hemp Ready for Investment
Speakers at Thursday’s Investment Summit said the hemp industry was ripe for investment, but that supply chain reliability was key.
“Until the supply chains develop, [hemp products are] going to be much more expensive and you’re going to have a struggle with consumer adoption,” Mina Mishrilkey of New York City-based Merida Capital Partners, LLC told an investment panel.
“When we look at investing in the hemp space, we look at investing in that route of the supply chain and slowly working our way up.” The company has invested $18 million in a decortication factory for Edmonton, Alberta-based Canadian Rockies Hemp.
Voices from the Trade Show
Participants on the trade show floor appreciated the energy and connections made at the event.
“I’m amazed to be around all these hemp legends and artists. This is like a Marvel convention for me,” photographer “Hemp the Artist” told Let’s Talk Hemp.
“There is something about being in person and relationship-building,” said Franny Tacy of Asheville, NC CBD chain Franny’s Farmacy. “What I love about being a part of NoCo now for so many consecutive years as an exhibitor, a participant and a speaker, is that these are the people that have been in the business, that created the business and now they are still evolving within the business,” she added.
Even though the event was “a little bit slower” than in previous years, when almost 20,000 people attended NoCo Hemp Expo, “It’s good to see that there’s still some potential in the industry for sure and some new ideas,” said Casey Schoenberger of Dramm Corporation, a greenhouse irrigation and fertilizer company and sponsor of the Dramm Education stage. “It’s been a hard couple years for people in this industry, but I think it’s going to shake out,” he added.
NoCo Hemp Pitch Event New at NoCo this year was a “Shark Tank” inspired NoCo Hemp Pitch, sponsored by law firm Michael Best, where six emerging hemp companies competed with business investment pitches for $2,000 in legal services and other prizes.
First prize winner was Colorado-based Dama Bioplastics, which makes hemp-based bioplastic for containers in the cannabis industry. Second place was Tennessee-based Trace Femcare, makers of feminine hygiene products created from hemp and sustainably grown cotton.
WAFBA Awards of Excellence
Also new this year was the WAFBA Awards of Excellence Banquet, which honored hemp entrepreneurs and industry leaders in multiple categories. Music at the formal banquet was provided by local Colorado guitar virtuoso Dave Beegle, performing with Silver Mountain hemp guitars and amplifiers.
- The Best New Tech Award for Tech Innovation was given to Corbett Hefner of Alamosa, CO-based Formation Ag, which manufactures harvesting and decortication equipment. Other nominees were Cree Crawford and Ionization Labs; Robert Ziner and Canadian Industrial Hemp Corporation; Greg Wilson and Hempwood; Rick Bonde and Boulder Creek Technologies.
- The Elevation Award – (Advancing the Industry Through Impeccable Leadership) was given to Carla Boyd, founder of Kittridge, CO-based HempWay Foods. Other nominees were independent hemp scientist Carl Martel; cannabis pioneer Steve DeAngelo; Jamie Campbell Petty of Midwest Hemp Coalition and Jacob Waddell of the US Hemp Building Association.
- The Community Economic Impact Award honored Melissa Nelson, co-owner of Great Bend, KS-based South Bend Industrial Hemp. Other Nominees included Chad Rosen of Victory Hemp Foods; Judy Wicks of All Together Now; Ken and Morgan Elliot of IND Hemp and Franny Tacy of Franny’s Farmacy.
- The Carbon Change Award was bestowed on Sergiy “Doctor Hemphouse” Kovalenkov of Hempire, UA, a Kyiv, Ukraine-based civil engineer and hempcrete builder who has constructed more than 60 hemp buildings internationally. Other nominees were Cole Gibbs of Dama Distributing; James Gaspard of Biochar Now; Allan Brewster of ACE Corp. and Bruce Dietzen of Drawdown Hemp.
- The Legacy Award was given posthumously to the family of the late Oregon hemp and cannabis pioneer Timothy Shaughnessy. Other nominees were Dion MarkGraaff, Diana Oliver, Steve Levine and Mark Linday.
- Hemp activist and Native American activist and hemp farmer Winona LaDuke of Minnesota-based Winona’s Hemp and Heritage Farm was given the Mother Earth Award (Lady of Agriculture). Other nominees were Clarenda Stanley, Melissa Nelson, Courtney Moran and Alicia Fall.
- A special “Das Award” was also given to Boulder-based hemp ice cream maker and scientist Das Ellis, who was honored as a source of inspiration.
Although hemp industry leaders attended the trade show to make deals, NoCo also upheld its national reputation as a source for networking and fun. Social events this year included a welcome party and a Colorado Hemp Company 10th anniversary ballroom after party featuring live music, drinks and dancing.
Exhibitors and Sponsors Get Ready for Southern Hemp Expo
Organizers are already planning events for the fourth annual Southern Hemp Expo, which takes place Aug. 18-20 at the Nashville Fairgrounds in Nashville, TN.
“We’re returning our event to Nashville, where we have had so much success bringing the important Southeastern US hemp supply chain together,” said organizer Morris Beegle.
Already, organizers are preparing to announce the dates of the NoCo Hemp Expo for 2023.
“It’s time to reimagine and return to the promises of hemp and the innovation and opportunity of this exciting new industry for our farmers and for our planet,” Beegle said.
About WAFBA and Colorado Hemp Company
We Are For Better Alternatives (WAFBA) is committed to researching and developing better alternatives so that hemp can once again thrive, prosper, and help individuals and communities throughout America and around the globe. The Colorado Hemp Company, the producer of the 8th Annual NoCo Hemp Expo (NoCo8), is a leading organization for the advancement and advocacy of hemp farming, processing, production, innovation, education, and legalization in the USA. The entire team is committed to researching and developing alternatives so that hemp can once again thrive and help individuals and communities throughout America and around the globe.
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