What happens when big data meets cultivation? Here to help us answer that is David Kessler of TriGrow, a leading cultivation solutions provider that just launched a grow chamber that will change cannabis as we know it.
Learn more at https://trigrow.com
- David’s background in cannabis and how he became Senior Vice President of TriGrow
- An inside look at TriGrow and its turnkey systems approach to help cultivators achieve the highest consistency and quality possible
- The different types of technology and automation at TriGrow, including their real-time monitoring software and stackable grow chambers
- A breakdown of TriGrow’s state-of-the-art grow chambers and how they work to create a maximum of six canopy levels
- How TriGrow’s stackable grow chambers impact comfortability in working with the plants
- The precision with which TriGrow’s chambers can be optimized for different strains
- How TriGrow uses data to provide growers a reproducible environment for greater consistency in quality and yield
- David’s insight on the future of smart growing and the significant role it will play in standardizing cannabis over the next 3-5 years
Matthew: Hi, I'm Matthew Kind. Every Monday, look for a fresh new episode where I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly-evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com, that's cannainsider.com. Now, here's your program.
What happens when you applied best practices from large scale agriculture to cannabis and use the best thinking in data collection to measure the results? Here to help us answer that question is David Kessler from TriGrow. David, welcome to CannaInsider.
David: Thank you, Matt.
Matthew: Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?
David: I'm in Sunny, Colorado. It's a beautiful day here.
Matthew: Oh great. And what is TriGrow on a high level?
David: On a high level, TriGrow is really an end to end cultivation solution. It was born out of the tenant that high quality cannabis production and low cost cannabis production were not mutually exclusive. Really, we're trying to break from the status quo of traditional indoor cultivation and apply modern best practices, technology and automation to the industry in order to solve some of the problems that we saw. So TriGrow systems is just one division of TriGrow, which addresses the cultivation situation and how to optimize cultivation for the future.
We also have a division called TriGrow Capital, which addresses finance challenges within the cannabis industry where we've just offered up a $30 million equipment financing vehicle, which really gives producers choices about the way they expand without relying on equity. We also have a supply division which helps cut costs of production for everyone in the industry as well as a brand division, which really moves towards a commodity of a branded product with consistency where we afford people training, packaging, marketing expertise, and really help them get a higher value for their product.
Matthew: Okay. So let's talk a little bit about what a turnkey cultivation facility is and what that means and what it looks like so people can understand.
David: Absolutely. A turnkey solution in our mind is the combination of proven hardware and software along with operating procedures which allow operators to hit the ground running. We want them to have a proven model for success. And so it incorporates everything from training, operational support, a full ERP solution, centralized horticultural support monitoring and whatever we can do to ensure the success of our client operators. Essentially, it's turning cannabis cultivation into a science-driven manufacturing process, but one where we are very careful to explain that we love the plant and the idea is to maximize the genetic potential of each and every individual strain in a TriGrow facility.
Matthew: Okay. Let's tease that apart a little bit in terms of what the technology and automation is exactly. Can you tell us about that?
David: Sure. We've taken an Apple ecosystem approach, which is a custom engineered integrated hardware and software solution. What we're looking to do is control cultivation using a very granularly controlled growth chamber model where in every 32 square feet of floor space, we can stack up to six tiers of canopy. All of the growth chambers are extremely uniform and customized and individually controlled from one another, which means that in one particular chamber we might have a temperature of 78 degrees, and a humidity of 55%, a CO2 level of, say, 1,200 parts per million. But maybe in the adjacent chamber we're trying to bring out anthocyanin production on a purple punch that's about to go to harvest. So we've dropped the temperature to say 60 degrees to degrade the chlorophyll and then bring out that secondary pigment and intensify it.
So by having individually-controlled chambers, we're really able to do what's best for the plants inside each chamber. And in doing so, we can maximize the quality and it might not be yield, it might be about trichome production, or it might be about a secondary metabolite that we're looking to produce in a higher amount. But over each cultivation cycle, we can have iterative improvement on how we cultivate that genetic. And with each individual growth chamber recording over a million data points in a year, we're able to digest that data and improve the process from crop to crop.
Matthew: Okay. What's the background on how you started the grow chamber? Like how did you arrive at that and you know, the size it should be and all the tiers and everything? What's the background there?
David: Absolutely. We wanted something that was modular and we also wanted something that we could grow a single strain in a more monocrop approach, which is, you know, most traditional grow rooms, they have multiple strains in a room. They're organized around a calendar schedule of events for work. So we wanted to shrink that down and really work off of a what is best for each individual plant model. And so doing it at that 32-square foot meant that it had ship ability, it had a way of integrating into the building structure. And so to give a little bit of color there, each of these chambers acts as a support and integrates a catwalk in between, meaning that instead of building up on a mezzanine level on the second and third floor. The flooring is actually integrated into the units and allows very comfortable access to the plants and very comfortable working conditions. So the size of each chamber was really a factor of how we can do this in a scaled modular fashion and have that granular level of control over each chamber and the uniformity of the climate inside.
Matthew: Okay. And then so as you go from chamber to chamber, there is a, like, are you in a seat or how does that work?
David: Absolutely. So there are two levels of canopy in each chamber. Each chamber is roughly 4 feet wide, 8 feet long and 9 feet tall. For working on the upper level of canopy, you're just standing, very comfortable working position. And since both sides of the chamber open along the 8-foot access, you're never reaching in more than 24 inches to work with the plants. When it comes to working with the lower chamber, what we found is that a lot of the most common bench heights in the industry are between 24 and 36 inches, which means growers are doing a lot of bending and reaching and, and pots are heavy. So what we wanted to do is minimize that bend, minimize that reach. So our lower level is accessed from a essentially mechanics stool with pneumatic wheels. So people sit comfortably and can work with the plants without stretching and reaching. And it really allows for a nice comfortable working environment.
Matthew: Okay. And what have your clients' reactions been to this type of arrangement with the grow chamber and working with the chambers?
David: You know, they really like it compared to the traditional grow. I think a lot of the traditional grows were designed around an antiquated kind of version of cultivation. And this is really applying best practices to that. We're looking at workflow, we're looking at product flow through the facility and we want our employees to be comfortable. We want the cultivators to be comfortable so that they can put in a good day's work. And part of that is giving them a comfortable working environment. And if you're having people go up and down ladders holding things, there's a huge inherent risk of people falling and getting hurt. I've seen other cultivators try and grow vertical and they're using forklifts and series of pulleys. So we wanted to address the access issue and make it comfortable and replicatable and safe.
Matthew: Okay. And let's talk a little bit about plant height. I mean, what's the average plant height here and how do you make sure it works within the grow chamber?
David: Absolutely. So the average plant height tops out between 36 and 40 inches tall. What we've done is use a series of physical manipulations, trellising as well as the occasional photoperiod manipulation in order to control the overall plant size. We adjust the length of the vegetative phase for each strain based on their growth rate and so that they don't get too large. Now, there will be some genetics that have an enormous amount of stretch more based on some of those equatorial sativas that are much less common in today's cultivation that really are not going to work well in our system. But for the majority, the vast majority of modern genetics, it works extremely well.
One of the things that we do though is to make the most of those double tiered cultivation method is we introduced lighting not just from the top of the plants, but inside the plant canopy as well, it's called inter canopy lighting. And what we get is a more uniform development of the flower, both from a ripeness perspective as well as overall cannabinoid and metabolite perspective. So it boosts up that lower material that might not be as desirable, maybe call it grade B or C into more of a grade A material. And it also allows a more consistent cannabinoid profile and terpene profile from what we would think of as the upper colas into that lower material because the light is so much closer to that lower material.
Matthew: Okay. So we talked about lighting, we talked about how to control the height. What other kind of variables are you kind of optimizing and controlling?
David: Well, in each growth chamber, you can control temperature, humidity, vapor pressure deficit, which is a combination of those two prior, the irrigation cycle rolls and different fertilizer mixes as well as the spectrum of the light and the intensity of the light. Whether you're coming from just the light source above, or whether it's also incorporating the inter canopies, you can individually control CO2 levels in each chamber as well. So really it's a full amount of control over the internal environment of each individual chamber. So if you have 100 chambers, you essentially have the equivalent of 100 very dialed in cultivation rooms.
Matthew: Okay. And as you organize the chamber for specific strains and the benefits there, are you seeing...which strain are you seeing the most grown just anecdotally?
David: You know, that's a hard one because in different States it's different things in different client operators. We're not supplying the genetics. So it's really what they bring to the table. What we see the biggest benefit on is really running a monocrop approach. I think traditionally, you know, cultivators are doing bigger rooms with multiple strains in a room and they need an ongoing source of production for sale. So they're routinely taking down rooms. The most common kind of schema that I've seen is running eight flower rooms with supporting vegetative rooms and harvesting one flower room a week with say 4 to 10 strains in it, which give you variety and consistent production.
The problem is all of that traditional cultivation is built around a calendar approach and is really about optimizing labor. What we're doing is optimizing the plant. We're optimizing the genetic potential of each plant. And so by running a single strain in each chamber and then granularly controlling that environment, we can do what's best on a strain by strain basis. And it's pretty exciting as you start to do this because with one chamber, it's just a grow room, but as you get 10 or 100, the number of iterative experiments that you can do where you're running, let's say, wedding cake at 78 degrees, 84 degrees and 88 degrees, and then looking at that data and seeing how it produced, what the quality of the flower was, we can pretty quickly optimize around each individual strain based on these iterative experiments. And then from there, it's just a process of at what point is a client satisfied and, you know, moving onto the next strain
Matthew: When do you feel like you start to really get the benefit? Is it after the 10th time or the 100th time or the 3rd time like that you're really starting to say, okay, we're still really seeing the benefit from collecting this data and, you know, optimizing for this strain in this way.
David: I would definitely say that you actually see benefits right away. The granular control of the chamber and the monocrop approach yield returns quite quickly. By the 10th cultivation round, if we've been doing iterative experiments, we're gonna have a more optimized idea of the temperature and irrigation schedule, the fertilizer levels that it takes to really push that strain to maximize its potential. But by the 100th one, the entire grow plan, which for the listeners, a grow plan is just our work for the recipe of cultivation. It's every environmental factor, every physical plant touch from a grower. It's the recipe by which we cultivate those plants. So by the 100th time, you're looking at really being able to dial in the end product, whether that goal is for oil production or the production of a particular metabolite, you know, improved color profile. Simply bigger yields are more trichome. But, you know, the nice thing is with the system recording over a million data points a year on each chamber, you can not only review the data but at any point, basically click a button and it will repeat that entire environmental recipe and that yields consistency and the ability to, you know, really benefit from the data and those small experiments.
Matthew: Yeah. This is interesting because you kind of have a control group then where you say, this is our best recipe that we know of, but there's always could be some recipe that you don't know of that you didn't try or some variable or permutation. Are you then always kind of saying like, well what if we change this a little bit or this a little bit, or do you kind of affine arrive at something where we say like, "This is pretty much the best we've come up with and we could experiment and tinker, but it's like there's diminishing returns?"
David: Well, I think that there is going to be a point of diminishing returns reached, but it's really about what the end goal of the client operator is, and at what point they're satisfied with the results and they want to move on to another strain, or they want to move on to another goal when it comes to, you know, the experiments that they're running.
Matthew: Okay. If you were to pick, you know, some of the insights you have here from collecting the data and optimizing for strains is valuable, but like when you're working with a client for the first time, which of the insights or which of the things that you dial in, do they say wow, like what do you hear the most of in terms of like that was really great?
David: I would have to say it's really about something called production planning, which is our algorithm. It's a very interesting algorithm in TriMaster, our software control program, that aligns real estate with life cycle length. So to break that down a little bit, every square foot of canopy we have is a resource. That's what we call real estate. And each individuals strain takes a different length of time. So you know you might have a one strain that's a 74-day maturation time and another that's 49 and if you're growing 10 strains in a facility trying to figure out the optimized planting schedules, cloning schedules, harvest schedules is a arduous task.
So what production planning algorithm does is it says, listen, if you want 20% of five strains, I recommend you do 22%, 16%, 24% and so on. And it aligns both the production scheduling with the optimized scheduling for the plant, allowing increases of up to a 20% increase on the output from a facility just from aligning those different characteristics of the real estate's availability when plants are harvested and when that real estate is now open and what strain to plant in its place to align with all of the other strains in cultivation at any given time.
And so that production planning algorithm really maximizes productivity and it does have a bit of a wow factor. Now, the visual charts that it produces can be hard to follow cause there's, you know, tracing from this clone group to this growth chamber, to this harvest cycle. But when you look at what the output is, when you look at what the product of that algorithm is, it's really increased productivity but maximized quality as well because you're no longer cutting a 70 DA strain at 56 days because that's what the calendar said to do. You know, if a strain requires a certain amount of time, it gets that amount of time. And then the software kind of optimizes everything else around it.
Matthew: Oh, that's great. It's like turning over your cannabis grow to Jarvis, "Jarvis figure this out." Yeah.
David: We hope that we can be the Jarvis for everyone in the future.
Matthew: Oh yeah. Okay. So do your clients share data between each other to help each other out if they figure things out or do they use you as the layer to be like, "Hey, you know, create this as the best practice and then you can share it," or how does that work?
David: So, in terms of sharing data, that's a choice that the growers get to make themselves. You know, what we found is some growers prefer to keep that information in-house as if it's their secret sauce, their special recipe. And others feel, you know, if especially in a different market, that sharing of the data allows them to more quickly optimize their own cultivation practices. And it's more of a collaborative atmosphere. So really, that decision is up to each of our clients and we support it. Now, the nice thing is getting to look at all of that data, we have lots of insights of our own.
Matthew: Okay. So cultivators are very different. You know, some use time and planning very well, some kind of shoot from the hip and then there's the in between. You know, how much time would you say using planning resourcing, and your tools and working with you saves a typical grower, if such a thing exists?
David: You know, it saves a considerable amount of time. I'm hard pressed to put an actual number to it. What I would say is not only are they optimizing the time of the cultivators themselves on the ground, but they're also optimizing the process. In terms of the time they save, I would say we still have very close to the same amount of cultivators working. It's about a 20% reduction compared to a traditional grow, but their time is spent more working on the plants with a hands on approach. And some of the more mundane and labor intensive tasks have been automated, which means when they are working with the plants, it's about looking for IPM scouting or really, you know training the plants to allow for maximum yield or best growth. So their time is both better utilized and utilized towards a higher purpose, which is, you know, improving the plant health.
One of the things about having these reproducible environments is it minimizes the plasticity of the plant, phenotypic plasticity being the variation that occurs within the plant because of forces of the environment. So if you put a plant outside in California and you put the same exact clone outside in New York, because of differences in rainfall, elevation, sunlight, mineral content in the soil, you're gonna have two different phenotypes, two different visual representations of that same genetic constituency. And so using our system, not only are they saving time, but they're getting a very consistent output because of the granularity of control and the uniformity of the internal environment, which not only saves them a little bit of time because a process that you work out to optimize a particular strain is going to be applicable in all future cultivation, but it increases the consistency of their product and the quality of their product. And that's something I think that's a bit lacking in the industry.
Matthew: Well, you know, since you're growing in strains trying to optimize strains, it's really important to know exactly what your strain is. How do you advise clients in terms of testing to make sure that they know exactly what they have? What do you do there?
David: A great question, Matt. And there is a lot of confusion around the taxonomy or the naming structure of cannabis. What we have asked our clients to do is use third party laboratories that do genomic testing and get genotype tests because strain names change. I've had cultivators that wanted to have something unique in their markets, so they knowingly changed the name of a strain. I've had retailers switch the name of a strain because it wasn't selling as well. And unfortunately, what that means to a end consumer or a patient is that they're not sure of what they're actually getting. And so that level of uncertainty with our system is really unacceptable. So what we do is we look at the genotype, essentially the genetic fingerprint of each strain. And from there, we can optimize it. It also allows us to compare data of similar strains. I mean, we're 96% or 97% chimpanzee, right, by DNA.
So when you look at the differences within one cannabis strain to another, they're pretty small in the grand scheme of things and they have a huge impact on the overall phenotype, chemo type and so forth. So what we wanna do is look at those genotypes as kind of a starting point and then continue to optimize. But when it comes to strain names, there's so much confusion in the industry about what a strain is. And, you know, the fact that if you have one parent as a mother and one parent as a father, every seed that is produced from that pairing is going to be a particular strain. But just like the differences between siblings, you're going to get into a situation where siblings don't look identical. They're not identical by any means. And because of that, you know you might have blue dream or purple punch that look really different or have a very different chemical profile from cultivator to cultivator, from facility to facility and you layer on top of that, the phenotypic plasticity, the variability of the cultivation environments. And it's a bit of a conundrum within the industry at this point about how to deal with that level of inconsistency.
Matthew: How about fragrance or some people say odor, it depends on your point of view, if you like the smell of cannabis plants or not. But how are you advising clients to contain that? Because I know more municipalities are fining cultivators if the fragrance is just too overwhelming for the surrounding area. I know I've walked into grows and then it's like I walk into Whole Foods or something and people are staring at me because I'm like radiating like this unbelievable fragrance.
David: Listen, I totally understand. The first time I came out to Colorado, closer to a decade ago, and I went to some of the legal cannabis grows, I got back in the rental car and I couldn't figure out why it smelled like cannabis until I took my vest off and realize that on the back of my shirt I had resin smeared all over the place. And the smell was me. But to your point, the odor, which I think of is a huge benefit because aroma is one of those factors that I think consumers make decisions based upon. But when you're cultivating, it can be a hindrance and as you pointed out, a compliance problem. So what we have is some really interesting technology. It incorporates ozone, which is the production of 03 molecules, which oxidize. It's an unstable oxidizer, wants to go back to 02. And so that extra oxygen jumps off and oxidizes. Now, anything is the problem. So it will oxidize odor molecules, but it'll also oxidize electronics and it can become damaging.
So the way I would describe this is odor mitigation technology where we pass air through a chamber, it is completely oxidized, removing all of this smell bacteria and mold and fungal spores. But before that air's returned to the facility, it actually goes through what I can only characterize as a catalytic converter and oxidizing honeycomb, which then removes all of those additional oxidizers, those 01 molecules that jumped off and essentially returns clean air to the facility. So we incorporate that technology, which is called blue zone into two areas. You can put it around the facility for overall odor mitigation as well as biological biosecurity control for pathogens. But you can also integrate it into every single VFU, every single growth chamber as an option.
And that not only is gonna keep the smell down in the VFU or the growth chamber, but it's also gonna add to the air quality. It's going to improve the quality of the air. You know, again, eliminating mold spores and reducing bacterial contamination and overall, just growing in a more clean environment. And biosecurity is something that's really, really paramount to our cultivation practices to the point where all of our electronics are designed as waterproof IP67 and meet the highest underwriter laboratory certification for indoor agricultural systems, which is UL 8800, the entire system is designed to be sterilizable and watertight. So in between crop cycles, every square inch of each of those growth chambers is sanitized using essentially a spray gun. And then before the next cultivation cycle, you're starting from a very clean and sterile place, which allows you again that ongoing production of high quality and consistent cannabis.
Matthew: How do you think growing is going to evolve and change over the next three to five years? I've been amazed to see how far it's come, but where do you think it's heading? What's around the corner?
David: Well, I think as we've seen with most of the legal markets, we're looking at price compression and cultivators that were able to do very well for themselves when the prices of cannabis were higher are struggling more now. So I think there has to be a move towards a more price-conscientious way of cultivating. I also believe that consumers are gonna start demanding more consistency. If you look at any other consumer product good, when you open a bottle of Coca-Cola, it tastes like every other bottle of Coca-Cola. And currently, the marketplace is not supporting that kind of uniformity. And when I go into three different dispensaries and buy Gelato 33, it's actually very different from dispensary to dispensary.
And so I think that over the next three to five years, we're gonna start looking at how people can optimize cultivation and do so at a lower cost. How they can bring consistency to the products that they're growing. And also how they can compete on what I believe is going to be a larger scale both regionally, whether that's as MSOs operating in multiple states as separate entities or whether regulations will change and they'll be able to operate across state borders. But I think that this overarching issue of price and consistency are gonna remain regardless of how the laws fluctuate over the next three to five years. And those will become the factors that are gonna drive the success of cultivators in this space.
Matthew: David, let's turn to some personal development questions to help listeners get a better sense of who you are personally. Is there a book that's had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you'd like to share?
David: You know, there really is. So when I was young, I fell in love with cannabis at a fairly young age and I went to school and I was gonna be a lawyer and decided that, you know, what I really wanna do was follow my passion for plants. And I went for horticulture instead, started working at a nursery that specialized with a rare South African plants. And the woman there suggested a book to me. She knew my passion for plants and she knew that I was an avid reader and she said, ''Listen, the book you want to get is called, 'So you Want to Start a Nursery' by a gentleman named Tony Avent. And it's a really fascinating book. It's really interesting. It's got a lot of funny stories, but essentially he focuses on, as a nursery owner, these are things you should consider."
And there's nothing about growing plants. This is not a book to learn how to cultivate. This is a book to learn how to be a business owner in an agricultural space. So it talks about workflow and product flow and how to set up a business plan and looking at the efficiencies of layout and reproductive process. And so overall, it craved me these fantastic insights which I carry with me today as kind of some of the tools in which I evaluate different cultivation projects. And in doing so, it was a lot of fun to read. It talks about different aspects of the nursery industry, retail versus wholesale, something very relevant to cannabis producers. Also, about something that's becoming more popular in cannabis today called liner nurseries where nurseries don't specialize in flower production. They specialize in the production of the starter plants, whether that's clones from tissue culture or vegetative propagation or whether they're just growing clones up into what we would call teenage plants or ready-to-flower plants.
But that level of specialization allows them to focus on a particular area of the agricultural process and it also allows them some level of specialization. So they're not trying to deal with the biosecurity of flower production and trim crews and things of that nature. They focus on a more narrow set. Now, you only see that kind of nursery model in states with more licenses that are granted because if you're only granting, say, eight licenses like in Utah, then you're not gonna have a nursery that's just going to specialize in the baby plants. But in more robust licensed States, it becomes an area of specialization and that area of specialization means that you might have a competitive advantage in that niche. So it was a great book that talks about all of these wonderful things and really gives you a great economic and business perspective on all agricultural businesses. So I would definitely say that that book was the one that I'd recommend.
Matthew: Is there a tool that you or your team use that you consider valuable to your productivity?
David: Yeah, if I had to pick one tool, Matt, it would be TriMaster. TriMaster is TriGrow's custom software. It's really the greatest tool I can offer any cultivator. In no way isn't it effort to replace a grower. It's really a tool to empower them. It has that production planning algorithm I mentioned and allows that controlled of each individual growth chambers environment. It's automating that data collection. So no one's out there with a clipboard. It's taking over a million data points each year. It sets up alerts and alarms for anything from temperature, humidity or different tasks that the owner, operator, facility manager or cultivator needs to know about. And it also incorporates a full ERP solution making operation of a facility easier.
And then in terms of communicating with us and our clients, that particular piece of software allows everything from video conferencing and sharing and documenting picture files or video files. Let's say, they found a past or they have a question about discoloration on a leaf, that's all recorded, that's all transmitted through the system. And it also acts as a training tool and a compliance tool. You know, recording all of your spray records and housing, all of your material safety data sheets and all of the vast standard operating procedures that TriGrow offers to our clients.
Matthew: Apart from what you do at TriGrow, what do you think is the most interesting thing going on in your field?
David: I think that right now what we're looking at as one of the most interesting things is probably the advent of breeding and cannabis. But I don't mean that there hasn't been seed breeders and very well-known and very successful breeders. But it's applying that modern agricultural science to an industry that went underground over a hundred years ago. And because of that, they didn't benefit from large scale research university information and best practices coming out of big agriculture that could only be taken advantage of in what would have been a legal climate. So I think what we're starting to see is this aggregation of data because we are now in the first point, I think, in the countries instance where large-scale commercial cannabis cultivation is really starting to be a thing.
And so when I look back at orchids and to make you aware, at one point I owned an orchid nursery and I judge with The American Orchid Society. It's one of the other plant groups that I am just so fascinated with. But with orchids, we have over 50,000 species, 250,000 hybrids and a record of every single cross going back to the 1800s. Without that data set, cannabis is kind of moving a bit in the dark right now. And what's coming to light are huge advances. You know, when it came to orchids, we found that Yellow Cattleyas with a lot of xanthophyllic metabolites would intensify the color of a purple when bred with it. That same kind of knowledge is starting to be aggregated through large-scale cannabis production, and with TriGrow offering all of that data collection and these different data points, we're hoping to be at the forefront of what is going to be the cannabis agricultural revolution from an information perspective.
And I think that is the most exciting aspect because I can optimize a particular strain using TriGrow's technology and maybe drive it from 60 grams per square foot to 70. But when you look at the modern advancements in something like sweet corn, which started as teosinte a long time ago, you know, what's going to give us a jump from 60 grams per square foot to 120 or 180 are going to be advancements in breeding made in this more modern climate. And so I think that that's a really exciting thing to kind of keep an eye on and to track over the next several years.
Matthew: Do you play music for your plants?
David: I do not. I play music for me and that the plants benefit all day long. I'm more of a grateful dead kind of era guy. So always have music on in the background.
Matthew: Yeah. And maybe just talk, one question I forgot to ask is that you have some, you said, some unique financing things you're doing. Can you just talk about that a little bit?
David: Sure. One of the areas that we recognized as an issue in the industry is really successful cultivators that wanted to expand, didn't have access to traditional lending sources. And in order to expand and to generate the capital necessary, they were often being asked to give up what I would think of as an unreasonable amount of equity. So we put together a division called TriGrow Capital and TriGrow Capital is about giving different, I guess, options to cultivators that want to expand. So we do lease models as well as more of a term loan kind of style and giving these options to growers. They don't have to collateralize with personal guarantees or with equity stakes in their business. It becomes a much easier expansion process.
And we just announced a couple of weeks ago at the San Jose trade show that we had closed an additional $30 million of equipment financing for clients and perspective clients. And so we really welcome them to explore this option because often with the expansion of the industry at the rate it's going, giving up equity can actually have a negative impact on your overall economic position. Whereas taking a very reasonable loan and being able to expand without having to divest yourself of equity can be a much better solution for producers.
Matthew: Yeah. What's a typical interest rate or the range of interest rates and terms structure there?
David: You know, in terms of the term structure, it goes anywhere from 24 to 36-month. The rates are really dependent upon the options chosen within the lease, but much more affordable than what I would say traditional cannabis loans have been as well as without that equity component.
Matthew: Okay. So but no hard numbers you can give us in terms of rates.
David: No, but I would invite you to have on our chief business development officer, Richard Weinstein, who would be happy to talk at length about the various options using that equipment financing vehicle. And he would definitely be the person to address that question,
David: I just fully agree and I think that when given the opportunity, we're so confident in our system and our technology that we're not asking for these personal guarantees. We're collateralizing the equipment. So why would you spend your hard-earned money when we're offering you ours? It's a very attractive lease rate and I think it becomes a very viable model by which you can expand. You know, our traditional costs of cultivation across the country vary because there's different amounts people play their employees, there's different utility providers. But generally, what we've seen across North America is sub $300 per pound as a cultivation cost for trimmed dried flower and often well below that. And that really affords people an opportunity because not only are they going to benefit from this lease structure where they're not putting their money at risk, but their cost of production is often gonna go down by, you know, 50% or more, sometimes 100%. I've seen costs of cultivation over $1,000 still per pound. And so it allows you to benefit on so many different levels that I think that it's really an excellent solution to expand your operations using, TriGrow, utilize the financing options from TriGrow Capital and really just to capitalize on this amazing industry which is growing so rapidly.
Matthew: Well said. Well, I wanna wrap up, but before we do, you mentioned to me before the call your spirit animal. I think now that people know that you have that answer at the ready. Please disclose what your spirit animal is.
David: I would definitely say my spirit animal is a big Kodiak bear. I'm a big guy. I'm fiercely protective of my family and just love being outdoors, so I definitely feel very comfortable aligning myself with that Kodiak bear.
Matthew: Great. You catch salmon out of a river with your bare hands over or anything like that?
David: Never with my bare hands, but I love fly fishing and fishing in general. So I'll take a day of salmon fishing anytime.
Matthew: Great. David, as we close, how can listeners learn more about TriGrow and find you online?
David: Absolutely. They can learn more at our website, which is wwwtrigrow.com, T-R-I-G-R-O-W. And if they want to learn how we can benefit them, they're welcome to send a copy of their building plans to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free assessment. And we can talk about a program by which TriGrow would help them optimize their cultivation in their facility and help them benefit from our services.
Matthew: That's great. You're really at the cutting edge here in terms of implementing best practices. So I mean, I don't know why anybody wouldn't take advantage of that, so thanks for coming on and educating us, David. Really appreciate it.
David: It's been my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me and have a wonderful day.
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