Cultivating Advantages: Maintaining a Competitive Edge in the Greenhouse

July 27, 2018 | 3:40 pm | Room 102 | Cultivation

Change on the cultivation side of business operations can be hard to come by and even harder to justify. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the adage many business have adopted over the years. However, innovation on the cultivation side is one of the easiest ways to distinguish your business as an industry leader. Aside from costly infrastructure improvements, there are simple changes that can be made in all operations to lower production costs, improve consistency, and eliminate variables.

In a fast-growing market like the cannabis industry, cultivators and business owners need to embrace every opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. From the cultivation aspect, such opportunities are plentiful–acceptedly huge overhead and massive profit margins have allowed inefficient operations to thrive for years. While growers in other horticultural and agricultural industries are accustomed to penny-pinching and maximizing efficiency, the same frugality and simplicity is only now becoming the norm in our industry’s largest and most progressive grow operations.

A great example of this is that all cultivators rely on chemical fertilizers to grow successful crops, but many neglect the biological aspect of crop nutrition, leaving their plant’s true potential untapped. Even worse, the alchemist’s approach–mixing and matching various biological and chemical products with no clear intent or purpose–is costly and makes problems much more difficult to solve when they arise. Instead, large-scale cannabis cultivation should be built on the premises of simplicity, efficiency, and quality to provide maximum benefit to both the producer and consumer.


Michael Key; CEO, Impello Biosciences

Michael Key is the founder and CEO of Impello Biosciences, a Colorado-based biotechnology company that specializes in the research and development of plant biostimulants. Their speciality line of biostimulant products currently includes growth-promoting bacteria, amino-acid rich organic fertilizers, and unique biochemical elicitors. ¬†Michael’s role in the company includes overseeing business development, creating strategic partnerships, and directing new product innovation, research, and development. Prior to co-founding Impello, Michael worked as the Director of Horticultural Research and Development for Functional Remedies, a vertically-integrated Colorado hemp company, where he developed and implemented agricultural protocols on 50+ acre farms in both Colorado and Kentucky. Additionally, Michael worked as a Research Assistant in the Center for Rhizosphere Biology at Colorado State University, where he also received his degree in Horticulture. There, Michael co-authored research focused on nematology and bacteriology with particular emphasis on plant-parasitic nematodes and their microbial symbionts. He was involved in the development of a novel screening and isolation method designed to identify potential biocontrol agents from native soils. Other research topics of interest to Michael include plant-stress physiology and plant immunity.