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Rachel Berry is the Founder and CEO of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association, a women-led benefit corporation and grassroots organization. Her hemp industry experience includes:

Rachel Berry's Biography

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  • ​Hemp Market Manager, PanXchange

  • Standing Committee of Hemp Organizations Member, National Hemp Association

  • Midwest Hemp Research Collaborative 2023 participant/grower

  • Secretary & Director of Regional Leaders,
    U.S. Hemp Building Association (2020-22)

  • Client relations / superintendent on a $1M startup grow in 2019

  • Frequent host/speaker/panelist at hemp industry and community events

She is a first-generation farmer, a hemp industry journalist with experience in market analysis, a dedicated community organizer and educator, actively contributing to the development and knowledge-sharing within the hemp industry. Her broad experience combines on-the-ground farming practices with educational leadership and market insight, driving forward the growth and understanding of hemp’s potential.


Rachel has represented the Illinois Hemp Growers Association in many interviews interviews, including with Phil Ponce, host of WTTW's Chicago Tonight; The Lancaster Farming Industrial Hemp Podcast; The National Hemp Growers Co-Op; The Global Hemp Association; WCBU Peoria; Grow Greater Englewood's Grow Your Own Series; The iHemp Hour; The Mike Nowak Show; NPR's The 21st; The NoCO Hemp Expo, and in many more media and guest appearances.


She has partnered with the IL Dept. of AG, IL Farm Bureau, , Chicago Cannabis Company, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Prairie Liberty Foundation, National Hemp Association, Midwest Hemp Council, iHemp Michigan, 3C-REN, UIUC, and many others to provide educational and hands on experience.


In addition to being the Founder and CEO of a grassroots organization and regenerative farmer, Rachel is a community organizer, educator and dedicated volunteer. She serves on the board of directors for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and believes local food matters and that hemp should be a part of local food systems in the future. She has also served the BOD as Director of Regional Leaders for the U.S. Hemp Building Association. She currently sits on the Standing Committee of Hemp Organizations for the National Hemp Association

Rachel provides education for children and students, including audiences at the Illinois State Fair, National FFA Convention, Bureau County Soil & Water Conservation District, Critter Barn, University of IL Urbana-Champaign, McHenry County College's Center for Agrarian Learning, University of Illinois, IVCC, Southern Illinois University, Olive Harvey College, Illinois College, College of DuPage, IL Cannabis Training Center, and Rutgers University.

Rachel is a 2022 graduate of the Illinois Farm Bureau's Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow Program. 

"Hemp is more than a commodity crop, it's a community crop."


Chris Berry's Biography

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Chris Berry is the Chief Operating Officer of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association, a grassroots membership organization specializing in providing educational resources, research and consulting to its members. His hemp industry experience includes:

  • Lead strategic consultant / principal project manager on $1M startup grow in 2019

  • Frequent speaker / panelist at hemp industry and community events

  • Design / implementation of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association website 

Before starting his role as COO at the IHGA, Chris spent 12 years working accident-free as a Chicago Local 1693 Union Millwright for customers including Amazon, ArcelorMittal, BASF, Best Buy, Clorox, FCA Group, Ford, General Mills, Mars, Mondelez International, NRG Energy, Unilever, USPS, U.S. Steel and Wrigley Company.


He is currently employed as a Subject Matter Expert by Ocado USA where he has been responsible for training, reporting, root cause analysis, consultation, and continuous improvement on projects totaling over $50M of mechanical installation work in the field of automation, robotics, and fulfillment across the US and Canada.


Chris is a blog writer. He covers hemp-related news, events, politics, education, culture and volunteerism with a focus on local impact. He has also been featured on hemp and cannabis industry podcasts, and in interviews by PBS, Peoria Public Radio and The Center Square.


Chris lives on a 13 acre farm in Princeton, IL with his wife Rachel and their two children.


In addition to being an industrial hemp consultant and millwright, Chris has practiced regenerative farming and permaculture on his farm over the last 10 years. His style of agriculture is focused on minimizing labor and creating sustainable closed-loop systems of production on a market farm scale. Chris is also a hemp history buff. He has experience with hemp-lime construction and has built scale models demonstrating this style of construction.


"Regulations should be strictly for the purpose of promoting public safety. Anything else perpetuates illegal markets and will not put an end to the social problems caused by prohibition."

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