Producer Brandon Lebsock is opening the agronomic door on 4,000 acres of CBD hemp in 2019, with an Oct. 5 field day in northeast Colorado’s Logan County. Topics scheduled include legalization history, differentiation from marijuana, fertility, irrigation, seed, fiber, CBD, and overall management. Sessions will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MST, at the Northeastern 18, and will be led by Dr. Curt Livesay, owner of Dynamite Ag and a certified crop advisor (CCA). Lunch will follow, and afterwards Lebsock will provide a field tour.
Lebsock, with L7 Hemp in Sterling, began farming CBD hemp in 2018, transitioning from corn and alfalfa: “We had 1,600 acres of CBD hemp last year. In 2019, we’re involved in 4,000 acres, and have 1,000 acres just a couple of miles from the field day site. I encourage guys to come out and learn about growing hemp, and network with other growers.”
Livesay will teach the morning agronomy sessions, with 6 continuing education credits offered for CCAs. Basic hemp knowledge is often lacking across farm country, Livesay explains: “Industrial hemp is a broad term used to encompass hemp that is grown for seed, fiber, or CBD. If you want to grow hemp for CBD processing, you need to grow hemp like marijuana, and I’ll explain these implications in the presentation.”
“A lot of CBD hemp has been crossbred from marijuana cultivars, but most people seem to not want to know that, but it’s still the reality,” he adds. “This is not ditchweed and is highly specialized. Agronomic research is hard to find on CBD. Yes, you can find good university research on hemp for fiber and seed purposes, but there’s really no agronomic data that tells you how to grow it for cannabinoid production.”
L7 Hemp intends to establish a vertically integrated hemp operation, according to Lebsock, including seed production, planting, harvesting, drying, storage, and processing. “Hemp is going to become a standard crop for farmers, and costs are going to come down for CBD production, probably within five years. There’s also going to be fiber and seed markets that develop as hemp takes off,” Lebsock says.
The hemp setup at L7 Hemp, Livesay contends, is unique: “I haven’t seen this kind of hemp operation anywhere in the U.S. The amount of CBD hemp is overwhelming and the greenhouses (used for seed propagation) cover 2 acres alone. This will be an on-site field day in the middle of all of it.”
On Saturday, Oct. 5, morning agronomy sessions will take place from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MST, followed by lunch and a harvest tour with Lebsock. Costs are $99 per person. See l7ag.regfox.com/field-day for more information.