Realtors Land Institute – Weld County Review

25 Jul 2017, Posted by Kelvin Heck in Industrial Hemp, modern dairy, Realtors Land Institute, WeldWerks Brewery
WeldWerks Brewery

I had the good fortune to make a decision last week to attend the Colorado Chapter of RLI (Realtors Land Institute) meeting in Greeley, Colorado on Thursday and Friday. Yes, it was a long 9-hour drive both ways, but the experience was well worth it. The Colorado Chapter, with Chapter coordinator Maggie Thomas, is one of the best in the U.S. with more than 100 brokers who do a very professional job of counselling buyers and sellers of land and who interact with each other in a very professional manner as well.

The bulk of the experience took place on Thursday, with a full day of touring various aspects of Weld County agriculture.  Weld County is huge, stretching from north Denver all the way to the Wyoming border.  Within its borders are enterprises that include JSB cattle (formerly Montfort), Leprino Foods, Great Western Dairy, Dyer Farms (industrial hemp), significant oil & gas production, vegetable production including sugar beets, onions, carrots, beans—along with more traditional crops of corn, wheat, and barley.

We took a bus tour with 30 of us led by Kirk Goble, a broker and instructor with RLI who lives in the Greeley area. He is extremely knowledgeable and proud of his home turf, and he gave us an education with a lot of fun along the way. Our first stop, after the morning gathering at the Greeley Train Museum to get us organized, was at a barley field where the barley is grown as a proprietary crop for Coors beer.  It is contracted before it is planted, and grown to very strict standards, which then is rewarded with a much higher than market price. From there to a farm operation utilizing drip line irrigation installed underground—extremely costly but equally efficient, particularly on high value vegetable crops.

Realtors Land Institute - Weld County ReviewThe first stop after lunch was to a modern dairy operation milking 3,800 cows three times every day. The milking floor is an 80-cow carrousel that never stops—one cow in and one cow out. It was fascinating to watch how the cows are eager to get in to “give” the milk and are trained when to back out of their stall and head back to the pen. Four truckloads of milk every day that goes to town and 4 hours later it becomes mozzarella cheese at the Leprino cheese factory right there in Greeley.

Realtors Land Institute, Weld Country ReviewThe last stop of the day was at the Ed Dyer farm where they are the only producer of industrial hemp seed in the U.S. These guys are pioneering an industry under the watchful eyes and regulation of the State of Colorado. Industrial hemp is required to have a THC level no higher than .3, which means there is no way smoking this stuff will give you any kind of “high”. Recreational marijuana is a far different animal. The fields are tested several times weekly and if the level would ever rise above .3, the entire field is required to be destroyed—a pretty high price to pay for not following the rules!! I would encourage you to Google “industrial hemp” and see for yourself all the various uses of this crop.

We ended the day at the WeldWerks Brewery, a local brew pub in Greeley to sample the local beer and see up close how it is made. I forgot to mention, but at the barley fields before lunch, the operator pulled up in a pick-up truck with a cooler full of Coors for us to sample. As Kirk Goble said, “you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning!” Nobody got tipsy, and we had a great day. Many thanks to Kirk, Maggie, and the Colorado Chapter for hosting a fabulous event. I’ll be back!

Realtors Land Institute, Weld Country Review