Connect with us

Let's Talk Hemp

South Dakota Industrial Hemp Conference & Facility Tour

Grand Opening

Hemp Business

South Dakota Industrial Hemp Conference & Facility Tour

On August 4th and 5th, Complete Hemp Processing in Winfred, South Dakota, will host its first industrial hemp conference, workshop and facility tour.  This is the ‘Official Ribbon Cutting’ for South Dakota’s first decortication facility.  For early ticket registration and additional information, please visit the event page HERE.

Let’s Talk Hemp had the pleasure to sit down with Ken Myer, President of the South Dakota Hemp Association and Vice President of Complete Hemp Processing, to get some insight into what folks can expect at the event and where South Dakota stands as a leader in the US hemp industry.  

What are the key reasons why someone should attend the Complete Hemp Processing event in South Dakota?

According to USDA numbers, South Dakota harvested more acres of hemp than any other state last year and is on track to be number one again this year.  Most of these hemp acres are grown for fiber.  Two South Dakota decortication  companies, Complete Hemp Processing and Dakota Hemp, LLC are purchasing hemp grower’s fiber round and square bales at $300.00 a ton. And both companies offer contracts for growing hemp fiber. If your business needs hemp hurd and bast fiber, your business should be at our event. Especially, because South Dakota is just getting started.  More decortication facilities are planned and more acres of hemp will be grown next year.

How does attending this event benefit professionals in the industrial hemp industry specifically?

Every hemp industry professional needs a much bigger supply of raw hemp materials to be available sooner than later.  As hemp professionals, we should gather at any place there is success in scaling up the industry.  First, we should do that to find  out how it is happening—go and see what is working and talk directly to the people doing it.  Second, in every state it is still a fight to educate the public, government, and the media about the value proposition of hemp. If a large number of us get together on August 3rd, 4th, and 5th in South Dakota to celebrate more hemp fiber acres and processing coming on line, this progress  will be noticed everywhere that matters to us as hemp professionals, including by those who will decide their  positions on our hemp industry asks for the next U.S. Farm Bill. The biggest decision makers though are what really matter.  Let’s gather and impress them.  They need to know that there is a huge market for their crops which they cannot out produce in the foreseeable future—and that’s a bold claim to this group of decision makers.  These decision makers are the South Dakota farmers who we are asking to decide to take a percentage of their acres out of corn and soybeans and grow hemp as a  viable cash row crop in rotation with their other row crops.  The hemp industry will not thrive if hemp is a specialty crop.  Your attendance at our event will encourage South Dakota farmers to plant hemp as one of their main crops.

For all hemp professionals interested in the ins and outs of hemp decortication.  Come talk to Ken Meyer, JB Meyer, Kevin Barlow and the rest of the decortication crew about what they have learned so far operating their decortication equipment.  How  many times do processing facilities invite you in to see what they are doing?  This should be a benefit to anyone looking to do decortication.  And it would be invaluable for hemp builders and hemp product manufacturers to see how the “sausage” is made and for us as decorticators to hear what you all need while we are looking at the materials in front of us.

Leading hemp industry experts are committed to attend and present at our event. There will be plenty of time to rub shoulders with them, ask questions of them, and form business relationships with them.

Can you highlight the unique opportunities and advantages that South Dakota offers for industrial hemp cultivation and production?

South Dakota is one of the states that is in the latitude that makes most all of the European and Canadian varieties of hemp perform well.  We are still learning about what hemp varieties grow best here.  On August 3rd, Horizon Hemp Seeds in Clark,  South Dakota, in a companion event to our schedule the following two days in Winfred, is showcasing 22 different varieties at their hemp field day.  South Dakota is able in typical rainfall years to dry farm large acres of hemp—keeping costs down.   Land prices and soil in South Dakota are such that hemp grown in South Dakota competes well with corn and soybeans for per acre profits to farmers.  South Dakota has put hemp processing in place, making a local market for hemp grower’s crops. With planning in motion to continue to build out the processing infrastructure as more acres of hemp are grown.  And finally, the hemp professionals in South Dakota have worked together well to make sure that everyone putting significant assets into  the industry can have a path to success.

How does this event facilitate networking and collaboration among industry professionals in South Dakota and beyond?

This event has time for Q & A of our presenters.  Industry professionals will have time during conference breaks, meals, and evening social time to network and collaborate with each other.  On Friday night, August 4th, there will be a two hour time  period from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. for food, live music, facility tours, and networking.  Nearby Madison, South Dakota, has several places available to attendees to continue their networking later in the evening.

Are there any notable speakers or industry experts who will be present at the event, and what insights or knowledge can attendees gain from them?

Mandi Kerr will talk about hemp variety trials undertaken by the Global Hemp Association last growing season and the results of those trials.  If the industry is going to grow we need varieties of hemp that do several things better.  In general, we want to  identify the best yielding varieties. For hemp grain, we want varieties less prone to head shatter with strong winds.  On the fiber side we want varieties that decorticate efficiently and that produce hurd liked by hempcrete builders and others.  For both  grain and fiber, we want varieties that can be planted as early as possible in the spring without being too susceptible to a frost after germination.  Earlier planting like is done with corn in our area, gives hemp a much better chance to compete against  weed pressure.

Frederick Cawthon will discuss the use of hemp in the automotive industry as it is now and what it could look like in the future.  This is a real market for hemp that is already underway.

Morris Beegle will present “In the Middle of every Difficulty lies Opportunity.”  Morris is President of the We Are For Better Alternatives (WAFBA) family of brands.  Spanning education, advocacy and entertainment, Beegle engages audiences about  hemp around the world through podcasts, live events, virtual conferences and webinars, radio, and digital and print media.  He is a respected hemp industry thought leader.

Corbett Hefner will talk about a hempcrete block that is a one to one replacement of traditional cinder blocks.  This product alone is going to create a demand for hundreds of thousands of hemp acres grown for fiber.

Andrew Bish is going to update us on hemp industry trends.  No one is more involved in the hemp industry than Andrew.  One of his contributions will be on display at our event.  We will have the FiberCut, multi-sickle bar cutter on location.  Two of  these have been purchased to help with South Dakota’s hemp harvest this year.  This equipment will make for a much better harvest season with the advantages of easier raking and baling of the hemp straw.  Also, retting will be more even and  complete making decortication more efficient.

Lori Daytner, with DON Procession, LLC, will speak on their experience growing hemp in Western Pennsylvania.  Lori serves as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council and represents the PAHIC on the National Hemp Association’s  Standing Committee of Hemp Organizations.

Three South Dakota hemp growers will talk about how to grow hemp successfully.  Blake Burggraff, a Saturday, August 5th presenter, last season grew a hemp field that yielded 40 bushels of hemp grain an acre and over a ton and a half  residual fiber to be baled.  This year his hemp is already over his head—with it looking like he is going to be again very successful with his hemp crop.  He is a speaker sponsored by the Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society.

In what ways does this event contribute to the growth and development of the industrial hemp industry in South Dakota?

This event will be widely publicized in South Dakota, letting the public, government and the media know that the hemp industry is growing in South Dakota and has a bright future.  Farmers will take note of what is happening and show increased  interest in growing hemp leading to a better supply of hemp hurd and bast fiber going forward for U.S. markets clamoring for these inputs. This event is hopeful to be a catalyst for growing the South Dakota hemp industry and the hemp industry in other states—which should say “if they are doing it in South Dakota, we can do it back home.”

Are there any specific workshops, seminars, or interactive sessions planned during the event that attendees should look forward to?

During the two days of our hemp conference, there will also be taking place at the same time at our location a Hempcrete Workshop put on by Ray Kaderli, President of the U.S. Hemp Building Association.  It will go from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on  both Friday, August 4th, and Saturday, August 5th. Registration for this workshop is only $50.00.  Interested people should register soon.  The big projects to be completed will show the value of hempcrete construction for noise reduction.  Workshop participants will build two walls to reduce the noise pollution outside from the hemp decortication facility dust control system. They will also construct two sound-absorbing panels that can be moved around inside the decortication facility to lower noise  pollution of equipment operated inside.

Your governor, Kristy Noem, was labeled an anti-hemp governor several years back.  Has her position changed?  Have you invited her or her staff to the event or to your facility?

Under Governor Noem’s leadership, South Dakota’s Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources has administered a hemp program that is very friendly to licensing and assisting farmers that want to grow hemp in South Dakota. The Department  is especially favorable to the continued growth of the hemp grain and fiber industry in South Dakota. Governor Noem, her Ag policy advisor, and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources have been invited to attend our event.

Derek Schiefelbein, Industrial Hemp Program Manager for the SD Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Rick Geppert, Industrial Hemp Program Specialist for the SD Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources have confirmed that  they will attend our event and will give a report on the status of hemp acreage in South Dakota for the current year.  This week, Leslie Hicks, Director of Scheduling for Governor Kristi Noem stated that she will let me know in the next couple of weeks if our event is something they will be able to make work on either the Governor or Lt. Governor’s calendars for August.

The mention of companies and other enterprises in news stories and Q&As does not imply an endorsement by Let’s Talk Hemp or any business relationship.

Tree Free Hemp
Herring Bank
Soma Artist Organics

Become a Subscriber

Get the hemp industry's top newsletter delivered straight to your inbox every Wednesday. 20,000 strong!

Let’s Talk Hemp!

Listen to the hemp industry’s loudest podcast. Produced in conjunction with Loudest Show On Earth Productions. Nothing shall be louder than the truth.

Apple Podcast  Spotify

TIny Hemp Homes
Canna Consortium
Colorado Hemp Association


Healthy Oil Seeds
To Top