Essex--The 13th annual Grain Growers Conference, March 23, will feature five sessions on industrial hemp including talks by Vermont and Canadian growers who will share their insights and experiences with growing this crop.

The conference will take place at the Essex Resort and Spa in Essex from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It is sponsored by the Northern Grain Growers Association (NGGA) and the University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program.

Registration is $75, $50 for NGGA members, and includes lunch. Live broadcast of the hemp sessions only is $35.

Registrations may be made at www.regonline.com/grainconference through March 17. To request a disability-related accommodation, contact Susan Brouillette at (802) 524-6501, ext. 432, or (800) 639-2130 (toll-free in Vermont) by March 2.

Keynote speaker Chris Wooding will lead a discussion on building economic capital on the farm through regenerative agricultural practices. Wooding is the owner of Ironwood Organics, a diverse certified organic farm in eastern Ontario that grows grains, cereals, dried beans, hops and other crops.

The featured sessions on industrial hemp will focus on hemp chemistry, seed production, processing, research updates and growers' experiences with hemp. Other conference sessions will cover organic no-till, dry bean production, buckwheat cultivation, getting started growing grains and growing barley for malt quality and the basics of malt chemistry.

In addition, participants can choose to attend a baking session on stone mill dressing, using local corn to make tortillas or baking with barley malt. Local buyers will be on hand to meet with growers to discuss potential market opportunities.

Susan Jean Brouillette