Oakfruitland Vertical Farming

Everything You Need To Know About Vertical Cannabis Grow Systems

Everything You Need To Know About Vertical Cannabis Grow Systems

Cannabis Vertical Grow Racks - Grow More

Although the legal cannabis industry is over a decade old in some states, it’s still a nascent industry compared to other agricultural sectors with proven best practices and equipment. The processes, techniques, and tools used to grow commercial cannabis are constantly evolving to optimize and streamline operations. Due to this rapid advancement, many ideas, systems, and strategies are antiquated and becoming obsolete. 

Still, one concept expanding exponentially and here to stay for the foreseeable future is growing cannabis vertically. Vertical farming, when done correctly using vertical cannabis grow system, can significantly increase output, standardize operations, and maximize the overall efficiency of any commercial cannabis grow operation. Implementing vertical farming and space optimization strategies throughout the facility can reduce per-unit costs, allowing operators to take greater profits or stay competitive in more mature markets with declining prices. 

If you’re wisely considering investing in mobile vertical cannabis grow systems, read on to learn more about the benefits and what you’ll need to get started.

Advantages of Vertical Cannabis Grow Systems

While traditional horizontal growing is appropriate in specific scenarios, it leaves valuable space emptying many facilities. Incorporating vertical grow systems into your operation allows you to leverage every inch of your grow room to maximize profits while saving you money on alternative production space expenditures.

For example, sophisticated vertical cannabis grow systems can support strategies around efficient, closed-loop water systems to reduce water usage and associated costs. A well-designed irrigation plan should minimize and recapture run-off, in turn saving substantial amounts of money on water and sewer fees by capturing, treating, and reusing water.

Other advantages of vertical cannabis grow systems include:

  • Reduction of per-unit costs
  • Increased horizontal canopy space through the elimination of stationery aisles and the creation of mobile aisles via mobile carriages
  • Reduced need to buy or lease additional property for expansion
  • Standardized and streamlined cultivation processes and practices

Necessary Components of Vertical Cannabis Grow Systems

Oakfruitland Vertical Farming

Growing cannabis in a controlled-environment indoor grow facility offers a high degree of stability and control when combined with the proper tools and systems, including vertical cannabis grow system. To better understand the necessary components of commercial cannabis grow system, it’s important to understand the variables of growing cannabis. 

These variables include:

  • Genetics
  • Weather
  • Light (intensity, spectrum, cycle)
  • Temperature (ambient, canopy, sub-canopy, media)
  • Humidity (RH, dew point)
  • Airflow (ambient, canopy)
  • CO2 (quality, delivery)
  • Media (type, volume)
  • Irrigation (type, frequency, volume, treatment)
  • Fertigation (type, concentration, schedule, mixing)
  • IPM (microbial, viral, pests)
  • Plant maintenance
  • Support

All of these variables impact the final product sold to consumers and contribute to the costs of goods sold (COGS), which all play a part in any grow operation’s profit margins. In other words, to have control over these variables is to have greater control over how much money your business makes. Utilizing vertical cannabis grow systems in your operation helps standardize and better control some of these variables when designed, installed, and commissioned correctly.

How To Set Up a Vertical Cannabis Grow System

Vertical cannabis grows systems can require more planning than traditional grow operations because you need to evaluate multiple variables on multiple levels that can all impact one another. When setting up your vertical grow racks and mobile carriages, be sure to consider the following:
 
  • Floor levelness
  • Ceiling height (including ductwork and any other objects hanging)
  • Drain locations
  • Door locations
  • Columns and other obstructions and their potential interference
  • Local municipal building codes
  • Multi-level access equipment clearance (OSHA-approved ladders or man-lifts)
  • Workflow and ergonomics
  • Product lead times
  • Installation 

Hiring certified and experienced professionals to help you design, outfit, and set up your vertical grow system is wise. Working with providers like Pipp Horticulture allows access to seasoned professionals who can review architectural layouts and make recommendations for maximized space utilization, elevations, and integration with other components. Additionally, Pipp can provide grow room dimensions for maximizing canopy, workspace, and airflow.

Flora Terra - Pipp Horticulture Mobile Vertical Grow Racks

Tips for Maintaining Your Vertical Cannabis Grow System

If your vertical cannabis grow system is made with aluminum and galvanized or stainless steel components, there’s a good chance it will require little maintenance. Wheels should be sealed bearings, so no lubrication or maintenance is necessary. Wiping down racks and trays, vacuuming debris from the floor, trays, and tracks, and using ozone, UV, Bio-Foam, and Bio-Fogger to sanitize your equipment will help maintain a healthy growing environment.

You will also want to check and perform suggested maintenance on your drains regularly. Make sure to keep drains clear of debris and monitor your entire plumbing as fertilizers and other chemicals and solutions can corrode pipes and joints.

Safety is a big concern for any commercial operator. Ensuring your Team has easy access to the plants on the upper level of your cannabis grow system while minimizing their reach and fall risk is crucial for owners and managers running a tight ship. Ladders, lifts, and scaffolding can get the job done, but they’re more dangerous than other options. Pipp’s ELEVATE™ Platform System is a robust, lightweight, portable deck that allows cultivators to access the upper levels quickly, efficiently, and, most importantly, safely.

The Future of Cannabis

Because of the rising demand for recreational cannabis and the growing list of medical uses of the plant, the need for indoor-grown cannabis shows no signs of slowing down. The combination of demand, land pressure, and increasing rents will prompt cultivators to embrace more efficient cultivation solutions like vertical farming. 

Vertical farming techniques allow growers to maximize their output and consistently provide locally grown cannabis to consumers in urban centers. Vertical cannabis grow systems will continue to optimize and drive efficiency in cannabis and other indoor agricultural sectors while reducing inefficiencies commonly associated with indoor farming.

Pipp Horticulture is the leading space-saving mobile indoor vertical grow racking systems provider. All Pipp Horticulture products are made in the USA and integrate with other essential grow equipment like lighting, irrigation, drainage, and airflow systems.

Vertical farming with Pipp Horticulture can maximize production capability, reduce COGS, and increase overall profitability.
 
 
 

Call us today to take the next step and learn more about vertical commercial cannabis cultivation!

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Cannabis Conference 2022

Vertical Farming | What To Know Before You GROW UP!

Vertical Farming | What To Know Before You GROW UP!

Cannabis Conference 2022

The Pipp Horticulture team is no stranger to the Cannabis Conference stage. During the 2022 Cannabis Conference, Pipp’s team of cultivation professionals and engineering experts took the stage during the final day as session speakers! Michael Williamson, Director of Cultivation at Pipp Horticulture, James Cunningham, Co-Founder and Director of Cultivation at Vertical Air Solutions, and Del Rockwell, Product Manager at Pipp Horticulture, discussed the essential considerations behind space planning and design for a multi-tier indoor cultivation facility. 

During the Technologies and Solutions Session on Vertical Farming, Michael Williamson, Director of Cultivation at Pipp Horticulture, stated, “With everything in cannabis, it’s all about the little details.” Four main topics were discussed during the session when considering “What To Know Before You GROW UP!” Below you’ll find the key takeaways on how to improve your safety, ergonomics, and productivity.

Vertical Farming Space Planning & Design Layout

Mother Plants

Currently, we’re seeing many different trends in the cannabis industry, particularly around vertical farming. Everyone is used to double or triple multi-tiered environments for their clone rooms, but we are now seeing a shift from having huge mother plants to having multiple mother plants in a two-tiered environment. Typically, you see traditional cultivators with huge moms taking as many cuttings as possible, cycling through their mother plants much faster, with a three-month life span. When going from a single-tier to double, you’re getting twice the amount of healthy, viable clones. Cultivators are now getting healthier plants, more healthy cuttings, and reducing pest and disease risks.

How High Can You Go? 

Cultivators still need to consider the layout of the entire facility. It’s vital to support your flower room and the volume of plants while considering the design regarding your operations workflow. “It’s tempting always to go as high as possible and as long as possible,” Del Rockwell states, “but many growers saw a ‘sweet spot’ at about 32 to 40 feet in length. We see about 12 to 14-foot tall works for most facilities for shelving.” Del states, “We can go longer,” but you have to consider how you will access everything, how effective it will be, and what the quality of the plants you will get from labor and access.

Air Circulation

When constructing the growing area, you’re putting layers across the room with an HVAC design and adding circulation to create a homogenous environment. “Many of us in the indoor space came from single-tier cultivation, where you have a big open ambient space between the canopy and the ceiling in the room,” James Cunningham states while discussing air circulation in the grow space. James continues, “Combining all this equipment into one room creates an impediment for the supply air coming from your HVAC and for your transpiration and heat load from your lights to get trapped in. As the distance shrinks from canopy to ceiling, the grower will need to find a way to create consistent temperature and humidity in the space. By introducing Vertical Air Solutions to your growing operations, you’ll receive mixing chambers bolted to the outside of the racks with inline fans to pull conditioned and dehumidified air. You strategically supply conditioned air to each tier space, creating consistency and a dissatisfying microclimate through the canopy.”

Design and Mechanical Engineering

“Design and mechanical engineering behind your HVAC are very important in your cultivation space,” notes James discussing the difference between a successful and low microbial or low melt mold and mildew crop. Design and mechanical engineering are one of the most overlooked aspects of the process, taking into account the supply, layout, and innovation at the beginning before it’s too late.

Environmental Control Needs

Regardless of your approach to sizing your HVAC, growers need to understand how to supply air strategically to their vertical space. “To drop the moisture out of the air, you have to cool it rapidly to get the air to condense and then supply it back to the room with a reheat element,” James stated. Typical HVAC systems installed into grow operations exchange air only a few times per hour; however, Vertical Air Solutions expects 20-30 complete room air exchanges per hour. The supply and returns can make a world of difference in the performance of your plants and mitigating disease.

Genetics and Key Traits

Thanks to Vertical Air Solutions, “now I can grow any cultivar,” Michael reflected during the discussion with James about his past focus on growing only certain types of cultivars in a vertical farming environment. With years of experience, James states, “what landed us being fairly successful in vertical spaces was understanding the genetics and knowing what we were getting into.” In the beginning, running Indica-dominant plants that didn’t stretch too far can now work with any strain but also introduce the Sativa-dominant plants that grow in the lights.

Vertical Farming
Sozo Vertical Farming

Labor Optimization 

When thinking about single-tier grow operations, most are growing plants roughly five to seven feet tall, working on a rolling bench, and climbing a ladder to get to the very top. Pipp Horticulture considered this and “was the first to come up with a catwalk system that is seamless and easy to put into a system,” Michael states while talking about Pipp Horticulture’s ELEVATE™ Platform System. By incorporating ELEVATE™, growers no longer face challenges in a multi-tier environment. Employees can reach their level in a second or third-tier setting feeling safe and secure. Safety was one of the most critical priorities regarding design, flexibility, and efficiency. “One of the largest expenses you’re going to have over the lifetime of this facility is the labor expenses,” Del states. Anything to optimize and reduce the time spent on processes will be beneficial. When it comes to labor also comes liability. We always want to keep people and their safety first. 

In Conclusion

Shifting from a single-tiered grow room to a multi-tiered vertical farming environment helps optimize space and maximize profits. Subscribe to the What To Know Before You GROW UP podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts to stay updated with the latest cultivation tactics and industry trends.

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Vertical Air Solutions

Vertical Air Solutions – Dry Ice Test for Cultivation Airflow w/ James Cunningham

Vertical Air Solutions – Dry Ice Test for Cultivation Airflow w/ James Cunningham

Vertical Air Solutions

James Cunningham, Founder of Fog City Farms, Co-Founder of VAS & Director of Cultivation, shows vertical air solutions velocity with dry ice!

Vertical Air Solutions

Introducing the new dual 12 inch system that the team has developed for lengths 40 feet and longer. One major point to understand is when using vertical air solutions, you’re getting a system sized to the length of your racking. This ensures that you get a s much airflow as you could ever want at the longer length. Designed by a team having lifetime experience in designing HVAC in the proper configurations for HVAC equipment.

With the new dual 12 inch system at 65 feet long in racking length, the Fog City Farm team is able to create 200+ feet per minute, 36 inches below the system. The method is super efficient, consistent and you’re getting all the airflow you could possible need.

Check out the video below where in the vertical air solutions research and development facility testing some dry ice at about 5 feet below the system to really show how much air is actually moving!

Watch below for more information from James himself!

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Vertical Air Solutions at Tru Infusion

Vertical Farming Tips: Cleaning and Sterilizing with Vertical Air Solutions

Vertical Farming Tips: Cleaning and Sterilizing with Vertical Air Solutions

Vertical Air Solutions at Tru Infusion

James Cunningham, Founder of Fog City Farms, Co-Founder of VAS & Director of Cultivation, shows you how to clean and sanitize the HVAC system in your vertical grow.

Vertical Air Solutions

Cleaning and sanitizing has never been easier! You wouldn’t think that cleaning and sanitizing would be so labor intensive and time consuming. Pipp Horticulture and Vertical Air Solutions listened to the market regarding the need for a more accessible way to clean. The team has made the inside duct work more accessible by removing the end caps, very similar to how you would remove your registers on your HVAC supply. This gives you an ample amount of room to use a duct cleaner and clean the inside of the surface.

When sterilizing in between rounds, facilities can use any sort of airborne or vaporized sterilization system to sterilize your entire facility. The Pipp and VAS team can recommend products for this! This procedure is not only helping save cost and time, but also is thinking towards the future of your facility.

Watch below for more information from James himself!

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Elevate Platform System

Keep Things Moving with Pipp Horticulture’s Mobile Vertical Grow Racks

Keep Things Moving with Pipp Horticulture’s Mobile Vertical Grow Racks

Elevate Platform System

It seems like there is never enough space. With the high costs of operating a grow, cultivators need every advantage they can get. So how do you keep more inventory on hand when every inch of your facility floor is occupied? Look up. Vertical grow racks can take advantage of the vast amounts of empty space you otherwise would never utilize.

Pipp Mobile Storage Systems Inc. has manufactured mobile vertical racking systems for decades, and that proved to be the perfect launching pad for Pipp Horticulture, a leading provider of indoor cannabis cultivation racking systems and solutions, which debuted in 2017. Although the company’s national sales manager, Curtis Dadian, admits mobile racking solutions are not a brand-new concept, he is excited about the impact they’re now having on a whole new industry.

“The value proposition or purpose of mobile vertical racking systems has always been simple,” Dadian said. “They dramatically increase storage capacity within a fixed space, providing double or triple capacity compared to static [non-movable] storage equipment. This objective is achieved through the proper design and implementation of a mobile racking system.”

Mobile grow racks eliminate the need for permanent aisles, providing more canopy space for crops and equipment.

“Through the use of well-designed and professionally installed carriage-driven mobile racking systems, aisles can be created throughout a facility when, where, and as needed,” Dadian explained. “This eliminates the need for permanent aisles to remain open at all times while being replaced with additional storage equipment and increased capacity.”

Pipp Mobile Storage Systems Inc. has been in business for more than forty years. The company applied its experience, know-how, and operational resources to designing a product line, especially for indoor cannabis cultivation and processing, which now is offered by Pipp Horticulture.

“Pipp Horticulture offers a full line of products designed for and offered specifically to the cannabis industry,” Dadian said. “This includes our integrated grow tray offering, our unique cultivation racking system — which allows for full pass-through of required equipment such as airflow ducting or continuous trays — our patented [Vertical Air Solutions] airflow system designed to mitigate microclimate issues that can arise in a multi-level grow space, and our Track-Free system, specifically designed for the cannabis cultivator to enable easier and more effective cleaning between harvests.”

Tru Infusion

Because these products are not one-size-fits-all and no two businesses in the cannabis industry are the same, Pipp offers customized solutions to meet unique requirements. Customers are encouraged to take an active role in the design process.

“During the design process, our customers are encouraged to participate in the review and analysis, providing access to the full breadth of the Pipp Hort team including sales, engineering, design, and cultivation professionals,” Dadian said. “We ensure each and every project is a true collaboration, because our goal is to help our customers reach and exceed their goals operationally and financially.”

One of the new products routinely praised by customers is Pipp’s ELEVATE™ Platform System. An obvious drawback to growing overhead is reaching overhead plants. The ELEVATE™ system allows cultivators easy access to the upper levels of their operations.

“Having to service upper grow levels by accessing them with a rolling ladder or lift isn’t thrilling work,” Dadian said. “Welcome ELEVATE™! It’s an integrated catwalk system that is easily installed and just as easily removed, creating a full-length walking platform [aisle] for a team of farmers to more efficiently perform their work, row by row. This product has been extremely well-received and remains in high demand with both existing users of Pipp Horticulture Mobile Vertical Racking Systems and brand new customers.”

Pipp is well-positioned to expand and take things to a whole new level (pardon the pun). The company recently acquired GGS Structures, which offers high-quality commercial greenhouse structures.

“With the addition of the GGS Structures brand, Pipp Horticulture is now able to deliver the full range of cultivation racking and benching equipment regardless of the size of the facility, type of structure, budget, or growing strategy,” Dadian said. “We are extremely excited about this acquisition and have already seen how naturally these two brands complement each other.”

Pipp is far from finished innovating, according to Dadian.

“After nearly fifty years of doing business, we have worked through operational and logistical challenges, established proven partnerships with world-class suppliers, developed an international installation network of resources, and more,” he said. “We look forward to announcing the next cannabis cultivation facility improvement system and family of products, coming to you soon from Pipp Horticulture.”

For full article, visit MG Magazine

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Michael Williamson

Space-Saving Solutions to Increase Profits with Michael Williamson

Space-Saving Solutions to Increase Profits with Michael Williamson

Michael Williamson

Could mobile racking and multi-tier cultivation benefit your operation?

Cannabis Business TImes sat down with Director of Cultivation, Michael Williamson, to ask four questions on how businesses could save money and increase profits.

#1. What are the benefits of mobile racking and multi-tier cultivation?

Space maximization. Pipp’s mobile racking allows for increased crop production, as there is a single mobile aisle that can effortlessly move between rows when and where access is needed, compared to fixed racking or benching, which consists of multiple permanent aisles in the same space. 

Stating the obvious, increased crop production equals increased revenue, so every square and cubic foot of production has a significant impact to the grower’s bottom line.

Michael Williamson and James Cunningham

#2. What are the key features of Pipp’s mobile vertical racking solutions and how do they benefit cultivators?

Growers and plants are at the center of everything we engineer. Our systems consist of lightweight, corrosion-resistant materials. The grow racks are powder coated with UV-stable and anti-microbial additives, along with upgrades of other components to stainless and galvanized steel to handle high humidity environments. Our tracks are ADA compliant and can be seismic compliant with our anti-tip features and seismically approved anchors. Our new patent-pending TRAK-FREE™ carriage system is a single guide rail along the back of the system, which reduces cost of materials and installation while leaving the entire floor open for easy access for carts, ladders, lifts, cleaning debris, and improves GMP compliance by eliminating tracks on the floor. Our trays were designed by our in-house cultivation and engineering teams to make them easy and faster to clean so growers can turn over rooms in less time to minimize downtime and maximize turns per year. Pipp’s ELEVATE™ Platform System is a lightweight and strong (tested at 4x capacity, per OSHA requirements) catwalk system that allows a single user to set up in a few minutes.

#3. What is the commonly overlooked aspects of mobile racking and multi-tier solutions?

 

Choosing the right partner is critical. We have an extensive infrastructure of suppliers, installers, and highly knowledgeable staff to ensure all needs within projects are met. While mobile racking and multi-tier solutions are relatively simple in concept, there are small details— such as not squeezing too much canopy into a room to allow good working space —that are important not to overlook.

In-rack airflow is another challenging area; this is why Pipp partnered with Vertical Air Solutions (VAS) to provide an integrated airflow distribution solution that helps reduce microclimates while efficiently moving air through the canopy.

Appropriately sized and engineered HVAC+D also is a major challenge. When plants are stacked on tiers, the total plant count increases, and therefore evapotranspiration increases. Under or oversized systems can result in poor plant performance.

Mobile Vertical Grow Racks

#4. Can you detail your cultivation team’s experience?

Pipp Horticulture is the industry-leading provider of vertical farming, greenhouse, and space optimization solutions. We work with commercial agriculture professionals globally, to design, install, and optimize operational spaces throughout cultivation, post-harvest, manufacturing, and distribution facilities through the implementation of the vertical and mobile rack, cart, and ventilation systems. The Pipp team merges over 40 years of commercial mobile storage experience with our in-house team of horticulture industry experts with over 50 years of operational experience in commercial agriculture and seed-to-sale cannabis production.

 

To read the full article, check out Cannabis Business Times 

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Oakfruitland Vertical Farming

How Oakfruitland Elevated Their Cultivation With Vertical Farming

How Oakfruitland Elevated Their Cultivation With Vertical Farming

Oakfruitland Vertical Farming

The cannabis market is fast-paced and changing daily. In the United States, sales of legal, recreational cannabis are expected to reach an estimated 25 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. Legal marijuana sales are forecast to increase steadily with each consecutive year, and regulators are hopeful for a decision on federal legalization by the end of 2022.

Oakfruitland began making waves in the fast-paced California market with their hand-trimming methods, where growers trim the leaves of each plant and flower by hand to customize the size, deliver premium quality, and maximize flower material. The care brought to their plants carried over to the cultivar, with their signature “Oak-Lato”, quickly becoming a California dispensary staple.

The demand for their product continued to increase rapidly and the leadership decided it was time to do something fast in order to greatly ramp up production. This is when they made the decision to shift their facility from single-tier HPS to multi-tiered vertical farming systems with LED technology.

The shift to vertical farming, alongside the implementation of integrated air circulation systems, took things at Oakfruitland to the next level (literally).

Oakfruitland Vertical Farming
Elevate Platform System at Oakfruitland

Oakfruitland nearly tripled its harvest by creating over 3,200 sq. ft. of canopy space in one of its grow rooms by implementing Pipp Horticulture Mobile Vertical Grow Racks and Vertical Air Solutions.

Now their cultivar is sold in a variety of dispensaries in California including Cookies, Berner’s On Haight, Jungle Boys OC and much more! The team at Oakfruitland took it a step furtehr and created an even more efficient workspace by hanging their Pipp ELEVATE™️ Platform near their vertical farming system! This makes for even quicker assembly – which means more time spent cultivating. 

Listen as Oakfruitland’s sales manager talks about working with Pipp Horticulture and how making the shift to vertical farming has been a complete game-changer for their cultivation facility.

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Elevate Platform System

Cultivating With 3 Tiers of Vertical Farming With Pipp Horticulture – TRU Infusion Spotlight

Cultivating With 3 Tiers of Vertical Farming With Pipp Horticulture – TRU Infusion Spotlight

Elevate Platform System

TRU Infusion products offer a premium cannabis experience by utilizing the most advanced technology combined with the safest and most efficient production methods available. The TRU Infusion lab uses proprietary extraction techniques for clean and pure outcomes. Their prepared products are made from scratch to ensure quality, complete infusion, and accurate dosing.

The TRU Infusion team kept its eye on emerging technologies and farming methods to boost production while maintaining high flower quality. They ultimately decided to transition from single-tier to multi-tiered vertical farming and soon partnered with Pipp Horticulture, Greenhaus Industries, and Vertical Air Solutions to create the ultimate vertical farming environment. Over 1,188 plants are flourishing in 6, two and three-tiered flower rooms, and demand for their quality flower is multiplying in the cannabis industry. 

What was the deciding factor in choosing Pipp Horticulture amongst other leading mobile vertical farming companies? Dave Lawson, TRU Infusion COO, said Pipp’s industry-leading horticulture experience and knowledge of the cultivation process made it perfect for their Arizona cultivation facility. 

As the cannabis industry continues to expand, the TRU team has retrofitted an entirely new facility around the Pipp racking system to continue cultivating more of their TRU Flower products.

Tru Infusions Vertical Farming
2nd Level Vertical Farming - Tru Infusion
Elevate Platform System

TRU Infusion created over 24,512 sq. ft. of canopy using 2 and 3 tiers of mobile vertical grow racks from Pipp Horticulture. With 16 ft. high racks, each tier of flower can grow and flourish right into harvest.

 

The TRU Infusion team also made use of the ELEVATE™ Platform System to easily perform plant maintenance on the two and three tiers of their canopy. The ELEVATE™ Platform System is a robust, lightweight, and portable deck that allows cultivators to access the upper levels of PIPP’s Multi-Tier Mobile Grow Racks quickly, efficiently, and most importantly – safely. This patent-pending system was designed to integrate with PIPP’s Bulk Rack Shelving Systems without any modifications. The ELEVATE™ Platform System can be installed on new or existing mobile vertical grow racks.

Watch as COO Dave Lawson discusses his plans for vertical farming expansion and partnership with Pipp Horticulture. 

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Vertical Farming

Gain Canopy Square Footage Without Sacrificing Quality

Gain Canopy Square Footage Without Sacrificing Quality

Vertical Farming

First and foremost, having a seamless and effective workflow is essential for scaling an indoor farming cultivation facility. 

Gaining square footage without purchasing more space or increasing facility costs is essential to maximize productivity and profits. This is where vertical farming comes in to elevate operations. 

However, facilities may face some common issues after converting from single-tier to multi-tier indoor farming. One of the biggest things that gets overlooked while scaling is losing accessibility and how easy it is for your employees to manage the cultivation space.

When designing your Vertical Grow Rack System, it is critical to consider ergonomics. There has been debate about a 4 ft wide rack versus a 5 ft wide rack. A 5 ft wide vertical grow rack might allow for a few more plants per level, but the benefit does not outweigh the risk of the challenge that extra foot creates for your employees and your plants. Gaining square footage while sacrificing comfort in the workplace should not be the goal.

A 5 ft or wider vertical grow rack creates a challenge ergonomically for your employees to service the center or underside of the canopy. Additionally, the plants along the perimeter of the tray can be damaged while your team is reaching over the canopy. 

So how do you gain canopy square footage without sacrificing quality? Make the switch to the industry-leading provider in mobile vertical grow racking systems – Pipp Horticulture.

 

Vertical Air Solutions
Mobile Vertical Grow Racks

With over 40 years of experience in mobile storage, Pipp Horticulture has delivered products quickly and efficiently all over North America and Europe. Pipp has a team of in-house professional engineers, CAD designers, sales support, and experienced cannabis operators to provide partners with unparalleled support before and after the equipment installation to ensure operational success.

Another feature of the Pipp system is that it boasts a smaller footprint – with each rack only spanning 4 ft. instead of the standard 5 ft. These elements working together makes servicing the innermost parts of your canopy a breeze.

 

 

Watch as Director of Cultivation James Cunningham discusses the most effective ways to service your canopy in the video below.

Some other key benefits of Pipp Horticulture include:

Low Cost

High-Density

Dependable & Trusted

Easy Integration

2nd Level Vertical Farming

Partner With The Leading Provider of Moveable Vertical Farming Solutions

Our mobile grow racksGreenhaus tray systems, and vertical air solutions allow cultivators to maximize space in cultivation production and post-harvest processing facilities through vertical farming. Implementing our mobile cultivation racks will increase production by maximizing the cubic canopy footprint without increasing the square footprint of the room or building. Vertical farming maximizes production capability, reduces operating costs, and increases overall revenue per square foot by 3 times.

You deal directly with the Pipp team because of our factory’s direct sales channel. We design specifically for you, so there are no wasted resources. Pipp’s CAD team will prepare room drawings of your facility, including elevations of the vertical grow systems, to ensure efficient grow space and workflow at affordable rates. Pipp Horticulture also offers professional installation of cannabis grow racks across North America, and all products are proudly made in the USA!

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Vertical Farming Cannabis License

8 Important Steps To Take After Receiving Your Commercial Cannabis Grow License

8 Important Steps To Take After Receiving Your Commercial Cannabis Grow License

Vertical Farming Cannabis License

You secured your license. Now what?

As a new operator in an emerging market, it’s important to get to work as soon as you receive your commercial cannabis grow license. This not only helps you stay ahead of your competition, but it also makes sure you are not impacted by regulations that require licensees to be operational within a certain timeframe or risk license forfeiture.

To help you get started with your commercial cannabis grow operation, we put together 8 essential steps to aid your transition from a conceptual business to an operational one.

 

 

Teamwork

#1. Celebrate and Involve Everyone

Securing a commercial cannabis grow license is a huge accomplishment and it’s important to celebrate your hours of hard work. Of course, recognize your team and their efforts, but be sure to also recognize your community as a whole. Establishing a commercial cannabis grow operation in a community will garner both criticism and praise, so it’s beneficial for you to start your business’s residency in the area by thanking the community, recognizing praise, and combating negative criticism.

Consider creating some positive PR with a press release and/or interviews with local or online media outlets, as well as joining your local Chamber of Commerce to start making connections. Now is also a good time to establish a social media presence for your operation if you plan to leverage one. This gives you a place to promote any positive press you create as well as an opportunity to start gaining followers. (Of course, be mindful of social media platform guidelines around posting cannabis content.)

Hyping up your business early, while it’s still in development, gives future customers the opportunity to watch you build your operation, in turn piquing curiosity in them once you officially “go live.” Generating positive buzz is valuable, and will support your future marking initiatives down the road. Once you recognize your team and community, it’s time to turn your attention to becoming operational.

#2. Evaluate Your Plan

In states with heavily contested and litigated merit-based application processes, months to years can pass before licenses are issued. That means from the time you submitted your application to the time you received your license, some things may have changed, so it’s important to evaluate what, if anything, needs to be updated from your initial plan. 

#3. Determine What Other Licenses You May Need

Unfortunately, your commercial cannabis grow license is likely not the only license you need to operate legally in your state. With your plan in place, it’s time to get a firm understanding of what additional licenses and approvals are necessary to commence operations. Each state has different licensing requirements that you can find on their official government cannabis website. You’ll likely need to register your grow operation with whatever agency your state categorizes cultivation under, such as the Department or Office of Agriculture. This registration typically proves your operation is compliant in regards to water quality, waste removal, chemical usage, etc.

Additionally, you may need a business license from the city and county you’re operating within. And if you’re planning on handling the transportation of your product once your business is operational, you’ll want to start working on obtaining that license as well.

To secure any additional licensing, it’s helpful to have the proper paperwork in order. Some documents you may need include:

  • Commercial cannabis grow license
  • EIN letter
  • Business entity operating bylaws, minutes of organizational meeting
  • Any and all agreements with lenders, investors, or landlords

#4. Meet with Regulators, Community Stakeholders, and Gatekeepers

The key players in your community are important to have on your side. These people include your state representatives and the regulators specifically assigned to your license, as well as the mayor, city manager, city council, chief of police, fire chief, and zoning personnel. Remember: Your proposed commercial cannabis grow operation may be the first experience they have with a cannabis business.

Go out of your way to set up meet-and-greets and solicit warm introductions with these stakeholders, including those that may feel less favorable toward your operation. (This is where your Chamber of Commerce connections we mentioned earlier can come in handy.) Also, consider bringing key members of your team with you to these introductions, especially if you’re not planning on being the “face” of the operation. You and your team should take this opportunity to listen, educate, and address any concerns.

Ultimately, the better your relationship with community leadership, the smoother and faster your commercial cannabis grow project will proceed. Consider offering tours, hosting public community awareness events, and providing any opportunity you can to educate anyone willing to learn.

Group of people questions

#5. Make Sure Funding Is Secured

The application phase is often self-funded or supported by a friends-and-family (F&F) round, with construction and operational portions raised once there’s an indication on a license. This can work, but if fundraising doesn’t happen timely or according to plan, it can stall or kill the project.

Ideally, prior to receiving your commercial cannabis grow license, you’ve already negotiated funding, and money can be accessed and deployed based on milestones. Be sure any financial models are representative of the current project and market status with your sources and uses included.

When reviewing your financial models, consider these questions:

  • Is all required capital committed under favorable or at least realistic terms? If not, how much is outstanding?
  • Who are the investors? At what valuation?
  • Are the initial investors willing to invest additional funds with licensing milestones met?
  • Has the valuation gone up now that the license is in hand?

Although fundraising for cannabis can be challenging, more options are available now that institutional lending through local credit unions and smaller banks is more common. There’s also the potential to offset your capital needs through equipment financing, rebates, and participating in incentive programs.

Remember that your business is subject to the 280E tax code, so make sure you plan for that burden when securing financing. Keep in mind that many, if not all, of your licenses will also have annual registration renewal fees.

Pipp Horticulture Cannabis Grow

#6. Narrow Down Design, MEP, and Equipment

Depending on the requirements of your application, you may already have a complete set of facility drawings, or you may only have a basic conceptual design. If you only provided a basic design, it’s time to hire an architect, engineers, and consultants to create a full set of drawings.

Things to consider as you design:

  • Budget
  • Regulated plant capacity/plant count
  • Building or plot size
  • Waste removal process
  • Phased planning (utilizing your current budget with expansion considerations for the future)

 

We suggest hiring experienced cannabis operators as consultants to provide input to the architect and MEP team on room sizing, electrical demands, environmental conditions, water usage, fertilization and irrigation, proposed plant spacing, and the post-harvest process. It’s essential to consult with operators with experience at the scale you’re looking to operate now and in the future.

It’s also important to utilize vendors with a proven track record of success and cannabis-specific experience, like Pipp Horticulture. We provide expertise and guidance gained from working with top commercial cannabis growers across the globe and can help license holders set up and scale any size cannabis grow operation. Cannabis cultivation equipment is massive and needs to stay top of mind when designing your facility.

Grow equipment needs include:

 
Elevate Platform System

#7. Build Your Team

You must be intentional when narrowing down what positions you need to fill and when. Companies often hire a master grower right away even though cultivation may not start for six or more months. Depending on your existing team and current needs, initial hires should focus more on finance, construction, and project management.

 

Sozo Group Shot

Key Internal Hires:

  • Project Manager
  • Owners’ Rep
  • CFO/Controller
  • Operational Advisor

Key External (3rd-Party) Hires:

  • Legal with experience with local building and zoning ordinances and processes
  • Code Consultant
  • Architect experienced in building cannabis facilities
  • MEP team experienced in building cannabis facilities (often referred by architect)

Be sure to create a staffing plan that includes fully-burdened compensation estimates and a timeline for recruiting, hiring, and training.

Leafline Labs Team Cannabis Cultivation
Leafline Labs Team Cannabis Cultivation

#8. Initiate Commissioning Process

In construction, commissioning is the professional process of ensuring all building systems behave correctly and perform interactively according to the Design Intent, or Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR), of the building. Put simply, it’s making sure all building systems are working correctly before initializing operations.

The key persons involved in commissioning include:

  1. Facility Manager/Operations/General Manager
  2. Maintenance Team
  3. Head of Cultivation & Extraction
  4. Head of Manufacturing
  5. Security (internal)

 

This is a great time to identify responsibilities, coordinate, and set up onboarding and training with your team and equipment vendors. We suggest filming as much commissioning and training as possible for your future standard operating procedures (SOPs) and training guides. This process can also help you determine what your requirements will be for future employee applicants.

Conclusion

Securing a commercial cannabis grow license is a serious accomplishment, so be sure to celebrate! But remember that time is of the essence in this rapidly growing industry, so you must get to work as soon as you can.

It’s an overwhelming process, but following these 8 steps can make it go smoother. When you’re ready to start designing, reach out to us at Pipp Horticulture, and our experienced team of indoor cannabis operators and designers will work with you to create an efficient, effective, and high-yielding commercial cannabis grow operation.

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