The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) will host the region’s first event focused specifically on meeting the needs of area hemp growers. The 2020 Hemp Grower Expo, to be held Tuesday, Jan. 28, at IALR, will allow producers to network with peers, connect with providers of hemp seeds and clones and discuss ways to successfully prepare for the next growing season.

“We are a tool for our community to thrive and grow, and one of the important audiences we serve is growers, especially since agriculture remains Virginia’s largest private industry,” said Mark Gignac, executive director of IALR. “While hemp is an exciting opportunity for diversification, as an emerging industry, there are still many guidelines and best practices to work through. We look forward to offering this platform for growers to openly discuss challenges and solutions and to connect with hemp seed and clone providers.”

The 2020 Hemp Grower Expo will occur from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The agenda will feature a networking and exhibit showroom of hemp seed and clone providers the entire duration of the expo.

From 11 a.m. to noon, IALR’s own Yimeng “Jack” He, Analytical Chemist, will present “Unraveling the Mysteries of Hemp Testing.” His remarks will address the testing process and the six causatives IALR has identified regarding lab-to-lab discrepancies.

Gignac also will discuss the ways IALR is using its research assets and expertise to help inform guidelines and best practices moving forward as consensus methodology is developed for hemp testing.

The expo will include a lunch buffet and a second session where attending growers will be invited to participate in open dialogue about lessons learned from the first growing season and how to apply them to next year. Advance registration is required. Tickets are $35 for growers and must be secured online by Jan. 21 at

Exhibitor booths are available for approved providers of hemp seeds and clones. The vendor fee of $500 includes a 10- by 8-foot booth, pipe and drape for a professional experience, booth signage, one eight-foot table with linen and skirting and two chairs. Online vendor preregistration is required by Jan. 10.

To preregister, vendors should complete the form at

For questions about the expo, contact IALR Lab Research Associate Samantha Smith-Herndon at or 434-766-6622

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) helps lead the region’s emerging hemp industry by offering elite analytical testing services, informative hemp-related programming and research to help foster uniform guidelines and practices.

IALR also hosts the annual Industrial Hemp Summit, a multi-stakeholder event helping to build the hemp industry in the U.S.

More information on the summit, to be held Feb. 24-25, is available at

IALR serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with advanced learning, applied research, advanced manufacturing, conference center services and economic development efforts.

IALR’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Halifax, Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville.

For more information, visit