LEWISTON — The 2017-18 season of the Great Falls Forum continues Thursday, featuring Dan Thayer, president of Thayer Corporation, with a talk titled “Marijuana. Moratoriums. Massive hemp farms. How advanced cultivation techniques are changing agriculture on a worldwide scale.”

The program will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library.

Thayer is a licensed professional engineer, certified energy manager and certified indoor air quality professional residing locally. He started his career in farming at age nine growing ornamental maize for local farm stands. By age 13 he was working as a helper in industrial refrigeration and air conditioning, eventually becoming a journeyman mechanic and graduate mechanical engineer.

Thayer and his dad started Thayer Corporation in 1981 on their kitchen table in Minot. The company has evolved to a highly skilled design/build and maintain mechanical contractor employing 55 professionals working in diverse buildings, factories and oil rigs across the United States.

Several years ago Thayer was invited to a licensed cannabis cultivation facility to troubleshoot poor HVAC operation. A “eureka” moment happened during this visit when he observed a huge unmet need in the emerging market of precision agriculture. At that time the best practices of the industry were fraught with many poor installations, typically relying upon junk science and many false claims.

Thayer formed a new company, Lifespring Microclimates, to develop and deploy a scientifically verifiable approach to precision agriculture and branded in “SmartGrow.” The Lifespring team viewed the explosive cannabis market as a type of rapid proving ground for new technologies and know-how that would eventually spill over into food crops. This is exactly what has evolved.

In his great Falls Forum presentation Thayer will briefly map the history of hemp and cannabis cultivation and explain how those two crops are reshaping agriculture worldwide to an economically viable, sustainable and scalable approach using the new know-how and technology to organically grow food with 1/30 of the land mass and 1/10 the water.

Admission is free to all forum events and no reservations are required. This program is a bring-your-own, brown-bag lunch event. Coffee, tea and bottled water will be available on site at the library.

The Great Falls Forum speaker series is co-sponsored by Bates College, Lewiston Public Library, the Sun Journal, and Maple Way Dental Care. The Lewiston Public Library is located downtown at 200 Lisbon St. at the corner of Pine Street.

More information on Thursday’s lecture is available by contacting the Lewiston Public Library at 207-513-3135 or [email protected]

Dan Thayer

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