by Eric Sandy
The industry’s understanding of best practices for hemp biomass storage is an ongoing learning process in these early years of licensed cultivation in the U.S., and much of what growers are falling back on comes from earlier generations’ grasp of the fundamentals or the Canadian industry. The Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, for example, published an in-depth set of best management practices on hemp storage in late 2015, and it remains a helpful framework for how the industry approaches this matter.
And to a point, the state-legal cannabis industry (which many call the marijuana industry) in the U.S. has provided education on how to store this plant safely, as well.
Billy Chavis know this. He spent nearly 10 years in the legal cannabis space before joining Paragon Processing as lead engineer and partner. Earlier this year, the company secured a 250,000-square-foot former Columbia Records warehouse in Colorado City, Colo. (near Pueblo), and built it out with 170,000 square feet dedicated to climate-controlled storage space. The Paragon team asserts that this facility is the largest hemp processing facility in the country.
“Knowing that the [cannabis] market was heavily shifting and the price per pound of marijuana was decreasing, hemp seemed like a great opportunity,” he says of his career change. “So then I applied my skills to build larger-scale extraction equipment specifically designed for hemp. I’ve been doing that for around three to four years, and it’s led me into the position that we’re in with this company.”
And while Paragon will be storing its own hemp biomass for its processing ends, the company also accepts outside farmers’ crops for testing and storage as well. With clients’ precious product in mind, the Paragon team has developed a rigorous model for hemp biomass storage that can be used as a guide, no matter the size of your business, for examples of best practices.