The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) and Halifax County (Va.), co-hosts of the 2019 Industrial Hemp Summit, announce that tickets for this year’s event sold out at more than 350 attendees. Held at IALR Feb.25-26, the multi-stakeholder collaboration focused on building the U.S. industrial hemp market, highlighting innovations and exploring necessary resources and infrastructure for industry development.

“Last year’s event attracted attendees from 10 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Mexico and China,” said IALR Executive Director Mark Gignac. “We are pleased with this year’s sell-out event, which has drawn an even wider audience from 18 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and the U.K. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the increasing interest in this emerging market, we expect the size of the event to grow even more next year.”

Summit attendees included investors, economic developers, tobacco companies, entrepreneurs, medical companies and others interested in advancing the U.S. industrial hemp market. Industrial hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products, including health and natural food products, supplements, skin products, clothing, bioplastics, insulation, biofuel and more. Thanks to December’s federal legislation, U.S. growers, processors and others may now consider entering this versatile market as an opportunity for diversification.

“We are excited about the continued interest and growth of the U.S. industrial hemp market and are already planning for another successful summit in 2020 to continue this high-level conversation of hemp’s benefit to the entire supply chain,” said Blanks. “Information about the 2020 summit will be posted at when available.”

Panelists included a multitude of bioscience experts like Dr. Michael Timko, Professor and Lewis & Clark Chair of Biology at the University of Virginia, and Dr. Volker Bornemann, CEO of Avazyme (a Durham, N.C.-based laboratory offering field and laboratory testing, product development and consulting services to agricultural and food industries). They discussed genetics, hybridization and tissue culture cloning as well as cultivation, extraction and testing. Just some of the industry panelists included Erin Williams, program manager of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Research Program for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Dr. Chad Ulven, Professor at North Dakota State University and CEO of c2renew (a bio-composite material designer and custom compounder); Kristin Adams, Founder and CEO of Afterglow Cosmetics; and John Rouklac, CEO and Founder of RE Botanicals and Chief Visionary Officer of Nutiva. Their discussion topics ranged from the state of the industry to market making technical fibers, consumer goods and textiles. Panelists rounded out the day with discussions of how to build and scale a hemp business as well as the future of the hemp industry.

For questions or more information on next year’s Industrial Hemp Summit, please contact (434) 766-6605 or

Click to View Day 1 Flickr Album

Click to View Day 2 Flickr Album