The inaugural version of the Hemp Innovation Challenge™ (HIC) is underway. Hemp entrepreneurs, researchers and students have been submitting innovations since December. The fast pitch portion of the competition is planned for February 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. US Pacific time in the Theatre of World Ag Expo® in Tulare, California. The winners will receive media exposure, feedback about their innovation, business model, go-to-market strategy, and cash.

“We were amazed to get so many high quality hemp innovation submissions from all over the world. They came from 13 countries. The wide range of hemp innovations speaks to the broad use of industrial hemp,” said Mike Reid, Executive Director for the Hemp Innovation Challenge™ (

The HIC evaluation team is composed of scientists, hemp entrepreneurs, technology executives, and students. Finalists were selected based on the strength of the concept, the team behind the vision, market progress, and the positive impact on people, profit, and the planet.

Examples include:

1. Hemp pulp to make paper and cardboard

2. Handheld leaf scanner detects THC and CBD in hemp

3. Hemp surfboard fins

4. Laser technology which detects and quantifies chemicals in hemp in seconds

5. Edible hemp charcoal used in Japanese emperor’s coronation

6. Geoponic 3D ag cultivation for International Space Station

7. Hemp straws to lower plastic pollution

8. Tiny hemp houses with wheels for the homeless

9. Patented hemp planting capsule

10. Hemp productivity and protection using aqueous CO2 misting technology

11. Hemp coop for Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania

12. Hemp for remediation then profit

13. Liquid hemp for thermoplastics, nanofibers, and filaments

14. Hemp heart protein for functional foods

15. Hemp marketplace for insurance, extraction, and farming

HIC sponsors include: World Ag Expo®, Noco Hemp Expo, Oso Vega, Farm Journal, US Hemp Growers Association, Hemp Industries Association®, Biotech Institute, Hemp Barons, Farmtiva, Hemp Genetics International, Hemp Industry Daily, Larta Institute, CropTalk, Hemp Road Trip, Vote Hemp, 360Branded, UC Agricultural & Natural Resources, Oregon State University Global Hemp Innovation Center, and Ag Innovation Showcase.

Entering its 53rd year, World Ag Expo® is the largest annual outdoor ag trade show in the world. In 2019, the show saw 102,800 attendees from 48 states and 65 countries. With more than 1,400 exhibitors and 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space, World Ag Expo® provides a platform for networking, education and business in one of the most productive ag counties in the United States.

The HIC will be run in partnership with the Larta Institute. Larta is a leading innovation hub with a mission to improve the transition of science and technology breakthroughs from the lab to the marketplace. Larta’s Global Agriculture Innovation Network (GAIN) has helped over 700 ag entrepreneurs raise $1.7B over the past 10 years. “The Hemp Innovation Challenge is a perfect fit for what we do at the Global Ag Innovation Network”, said Bandhana Katoch JD, MBA, MS, head of Larta’s GAIN efforts.

Plant Growth Group is a global team of hemp ag experts focused on optimizing the success of large scale ventures, education, initiation of governmental hemp programs, and developing the hemp market while keeping it as decentralized as possible. Plant Growth Group is curating the speaker series for the H.E.M.P Pavilion and can be contacted at

General Admission tickets are on sale online now, and attendees can plan their visit at With a diverse lineup of agriculture companies and seminars covering international trade, irrigation, ag policy, hemp, and more, there is something for every ag professional at the 2020 World Ag Expo®. The 53rd edition will run Tuesday, February 11 through Thursday, February 13, 2020 at the International Agri-Center® in Tulare, CA.

Attend the Hemp Innovation Challenge on Wednesday, February 12 at 1:00 p.m. in the Theatre at World Ag Expo

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