If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to turn hemp into an actual product, EcoGen Laboratories is a good place to start. From seed to shelf, it is the largest vertically integrated manufacturer and supplier of hemp-derived specialty ingredients. Starting with the seed, the company’s research and development team is delivering some of the most unique and useful hemp qualified varieties in the world, making it the number one producer of compliant feminized seeds validated through genetic testing in the U.S.
EcoGen’s start was aided by the fact co-founder Joseph Nunez owned an equipment manufacturing company that built and sold closed loop extractors for the medical cannabis industry. The machinery he built at the time was too large for the small connoisseur market, which was only focused on medical cannabis. After acquiring hemp seeds and a farm of 400+ acres, he learned that there was a massive need in the industry for processing and extraction.
Today, the company also recognizes there is a massive need for industry education around almost all aspects of the business. In addition to a need for more formalized regulations, education across the supply chain is needed for the industry to be successful and continue to grow. “Farmers interested in learning how to plant and grow hemp face a lack of educational resources on how to successfully cultivate hemp. There is a lack of standardized resources to help farmers understand the science behind hemp farming or how it’s more labor intensive than most crops,” says Alexis Korybut, CEO of EcoGen Laboratories. “Farmers can find it very difficult to make a profit from hemp because there is a lack of understanding of the difference between hemp for fiber, hemp for food, and hemp for oil. Also, there is a lack of understanding of the best practices of growing oil producing hemp.”
Growing hemp starts with the seed, and Korybut explains, there is a lot of incorrect information on seeds and genetics. “The primary reason hemp farmers have unsuccessful harvests is that the
hemp seeds are flawed. Farmers fail because of
bad genetics not because of bad farming practices. Farmers are unsure how to find ‘certified’ seed vendors, which is a major issue in the industry,”
Looking forward, Korybut outlines that genetics can play a key role in moving the industry forward. For one, he sees innovation in developing hemp that is high oil-yielding and that will thrive in different climates as being promising and necessary for the industry. Creating sterile crops could also have a measurable impact on the industry. “Like the seedless watermelon, there needs to be refined genetics that make the hemp crop more beneficial to farmer, supplier and customer,” he explains.
In addition to a lack of education around hemp farming, many farmers do not have the equipment and machinery necessary to produce successful hemp crops. The equipment they are using is made and designed for farmers and traditional farming that is either not used properly for growing hemp for oil and/or harvesting oil producing hemp.
Ultimately, there are many ways industry players can work together to improve business practices and learn from one another—from working to move forward hemp laws and regulations to sharing best practices and case studies. In the meantime, EcoGen is focusing on helping farmers through this current COVID-19 pandemic. Noting that the company stands behind its genetics and its customers, Korybut says, “During this important planting season, EcoGen will aid hemp farmers by providing competitively priced feminized seeds validated through genetic germination and stability testing.” Following final harvest, the company will arrange to purchase back from farmers any unsold hemp biomass grown from the seeds bought from EcoGen that meet the company’s standards. In doing so, the company will arrange for shipping back to the facility for processing.
The Buy Back Program is just one way the company is standing behind both its product and the farmers to help move the industry forward. As the industry grows, the science of hemp farming will continue to innovate, leading to new ideas and practices, says Korybut, and EcoGen plans to be out in front leading the way.
Hemp Hero: EcoGen
EcoGen Laboratories’ commitment to farmer education, resources and good seed genetics is taking hemp production to the next level
Like the seedless watermelon, there needs to be refined genetics that make the hemp crop more beneficial to farmer, supplier and customer.”
Alexis Korybut, CEO, EcoGen Laboratories
Connect with EcoGen
EcoGen is a proud partner of the Hemp Collective—a New Hope Network and Natural Products Insider initiative dedicated to supporting quality and transparency in the hemp industry.
During this important planting season, EcoGen will aid hemp farmers by providing competitively priced feminized seeds validated through genetic germination and stability testing.”
Alexis Korybut, CEO, EcoGen Laboratories