2021 Preliminary Conference Program

*All information subject to change

Session Title & Speakers

Session Description

Keynote: The Impact of Supplemental Light Intensity on Cannabis Sativa Morphology, Growth, and Production in the Greenhouse 

Dr. Ricardo Hernandez, Assistant Professor, Horticultural Science Program, North Carolina State University  

Light intensity is a key element in impacting the biomass of cannabis crops grown in a controlled environment agriculture (CEA) setting.

The keynote will reveal data gathered through study of the vegetative and flowering stages of growth with different supplemental light intensities undertaken with the mission of maximizing nursery and flower yields. The research also identified effects on the overall plant morphology. The work combines the goal of improving plant production while also improving the sustainability of CEA systems and techniques.

Sponsored Session: What’s Next? New Advances in LED Technology For Next Generation Horticulture Fixtures

Kurt Liepmann, Senior System Solutions Engineer
ams OSRAM 

Novel advancements in LED technologies are paving the way for improved system efficiencies and cost down opportunities. In this presentation, we will explore horticulture specific phosphors to overcome the deficiencies of white LEDs, the use of primary optics to provide uniform light distributions and low cost, high robustness packaging technologies.

Session 1: Quality and quantity of light for optimum plant response

Lighting for plants is the most important of the parameters that growers can control in CEA settings. The speakers in our fist session will explore the interaction of lights and plant growth and reveal the latest thinking on intensity and quality in terms of spectra.

Session 1a: Understanding Photon Energy, and the Need for UV and Extended IR on a Timed Schedule

Charles Kirmuss, CTO and Supply Chain Manager, BLOSSOM LED, LLC

Celine Nicole, Horticulture Recipe Research Program, Signify

Ian Ashdown, Senior Scientist, SunTracker Technologies

The presentation will discuss the latest research purported by the Department of Agriculture and in other studies on how to successfully accelerate and improve plant growth and harvests. The premise of the seminar starts with expressing our understanding of the needs of the plant and not just simply pushing LED technology. Our understanding as a prior cannabis grower including the effect of the sun on plant metabolism, and how the varying seasons relates to the betterment of plant growth will be reviewed. The audience will understand the need in any fixture to be considered or procured where one needs to first mimic the seasons and trick the plant into accelerating its growth, plant potency and other attributes by scheduled control of lighting that the plant sees. Plants receive different energies and spectrums through its growth cycle, and these need to be mimicked. They can be adjusted further as shall be demonstrated. Bottom line: The need to change photons into useable plant energy and how to then use a scheduled and controlled spectrum that is seen by the plant and not the human eye to improve harvests and accelerate growth

Session 2: Total Environmental Control for CEA

Today’s modern CEA facilities are being created to control all aspects of the environment in which plants are cultivated. We will takes a deep look at the control technologies being deployed, how technologies such as artificial intelligence come into play, and exactly what environmental elements are critical for maximum yield.

Session 2a: Optimization of Environmental Components for Improved Efficiency of Indoor Growing Systems

Brandon Huber, Plant Physiologist
Ag Eye Technologies

Kenneth Tran, CEO of Koidra Inc

Dr. Richard Field, Director of Product and Program Management, NanoFlex Power

Indoor growing systems using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) provide multiple benefits such as optimized growing environments. However, these systems can be energy-intensive due to sole source lighting. By optimizing key environmental components that impact growth including CO2 levels, spectral quality, light intensity, and air velocity, the efficiency of indoor growing systems can be improved. In this presentation I will highlight examples that came out of research conducted in the controlled environment lab at NC State University.

Session Title & Speakers

Session Description

Session 3: Plenary Panel — Voices from the Farms

Hosted by Erico Mattos of GLASE

John McMahon, CEO/Farm Manager, Schuyler Greens
Tessa Pocock, Ph.D, Chief Science Officer, Shenandoah Growers
Tammam Serage, Head Grower, Revolution Farms

Experienced growers operating green houses, vertical farms, and other CEA operations know first hand the challenges and opportunities of the horticultural sector.

Our HortiCann Plenary Panel will be conducted in a question and answer format with experienced vegetable growers who have an understanding of the complete lighting and AgTech landscape and that know what works. Topics for discussion will span technology, sustainability, plant science, business and more.

The panel will deliver invaluable insights to the breadth of the horticultural community spanning other growers to investors to AgTech and lighting product manufacturers.

Sponsored Session: Beneficial Retrofit: Discovering the Advantages of Upgrading Your Lighting Technology with Bluetooth® Mesh

Rafal Han, CEO and co-founder, Silvair

Bluetooth® Mesh technology already has a strong position in commercial lighting. Especially when it comes to retrofits, it allows for greater energy efficiency, faster deployment, and a higher quality occupant experience. Can this technology be implemented in horticulture? What would be the impact on energy consumption, plant production, and operation costs? According to the Markets and Markets report, the retrofit installations segment is expected to register a higher CAGR from 2020 to 2025. What factors are expected to drive the growth of the retrofit installations market? What would be the role of Bluetooth® mesh technology?

Session 4: CEA and AgTech sustainably feed society 

Imagine the day where CEA operations will be the primary source of vegetables for a growing global population. That day is closer than you think with growers taking investment capital, going public, and expanding. Meanwhile technologies such as vertical farms offer scale. The presentations in this session will look at some installations and contemplate lessons being learned

Session 4a: Container Farms Bring Precision and Sustainability to Feeding Large Campus

Daniel Wells, Professor, Auburn University Department of Agriculture

Glenn Loughridge, Director of Campus Dining and Athletics Concessions, Auburn University

Gina Rodda, Principal, Gabel Energy

Abhay Thosar, Director of Horticulture Services, Fluence by Osram

Adam Shinners, Head Grower, Superior Fresh

A large US college campus is an apt model for the challenges society will face around the globe as population increases and a higher percentage of those people live in large cities. The only sustainable approach to feeding such a population is via controlled environment agriculture (CEA). This presentation will examine how one university will use container-based vertical farms to deliver vegetables for a population near 30,000. The produce moves a short distance from farm to table, the growing environment is precisely controlled, and some students get hands-on AgTech experience

Session 4b: Organic Photovoltaics with 2X Indoor Light Harvesting Powers Completely Wireless Internet of Things Sensor Network for Increased Data Collection and Real-Time Automation

Dr. Richard Field III, Director of Product and Program Management, NanoFlex Power Corporation

Organic Photovoltaic technology with 2X improvement in energy harvesting from indoor lighting including LEDs is creating new possibilities for maintenance free, place-and-forget, wireless grow-condition sensors perpetually powered by all lighted conditions. Dr. Field leads a team at NanoFlex Power Corporation that developed the Ensora greenhouse and vertical farming environmental monitoring, automation, and control system. Ensora sensors increase sustainability, recycling energy from any available light to power completely wireless and maintenance-free sensors with no battery changing. Sensor data fuels real-time decision making and can control lighting and environmental equipment to optimize grow conditions. Dr. Field will share his experience and lessons learned as his team worked with growers to leverage NanoFlex Organic Photovoltaic’s superior light energy harvesting to drive the Ensora Internet of Things solution for data-driven control of grow conditions – improving yield and product quality while reducing labor and utility costs