BAKERSFIELD, CA. — For the first time, the World Ag Expo created a hemp pavilion for exhibitors and attendees to interact about the fairly new crop.
“I’m not surprised that this is the first year its a new crop and its really popular and it has everyone interested in what to do with it so," said Hunter Singh, World Ag Expo attendee.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production and sale of hemp in California. 'Hemp' is defined as cannabis with less that 3% THC.
“I would’ve expected a new hemp pavilion last year after the federal regulations, but it takes a while for a big show like this to add something new," said Jennifer Orsi, COO of Beacon Hemp.
This year will be the second legal growing season for the crop. Last year, many growers experimented with the crop but production success varied, and most were unsuccessful, according to industry leaders.
"People interested in farming are looking for good quality genetics. They want a stabilized crop. The other thing people are asking is 'how can I grow it?' They are farmers, they can grow a lot of things, but it's a new crop and they wanna know how to do it and how to sell it," said Orsi.
The new hemp pavilion only had a handful of exhibitors compared to other exhibits, such as dairy, but it brought it a big crowd of hundreds on its first day.
“It's the first year to have this type of hemp pavilion and I know they could’ve sold it out three times over so next year I believe it will be even bigger," said Jeff Chedester, Western Milling.