Virginia will soon be home to a new and much needed industrial hemp fiber processing and cannabidiol (CBD) oil extraction facility.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced yesterday Shenandoah Valley Hemp, LLC, trading as Pure Shenandoah, will invest nearly $3.3 million to establish the facility in the down of Elkton.
“Projects like this one are an important part of diversifying our economy and developing new markets for industrial hemp,” said Governor Northam. “Our administration remains committed to supporting growers and processors as we work to ensure this crop has a sustainable future in Virginia.”
Governor Northam has kicked in a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund for the project, which will be matched by Rockingham County. Funding and services to support the company’s job creation (an expected 24 jobs) will be provided through Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
It was only around this time last year an announcement was made regarding the first industrial hemp fiber processing facility to be set up in the state soon – but it’s not clear if that is yet operational. The first large-scale hemp processing facility in Virginia was officially opened in October this year in the town of South Boston, but that operation is focused on CBD extraction.
The reason why this new Shenandoah Valley Hemp facility is so important is that Virginia’s hemp farmers have been faced with a challenge experienced pretty much throughout the USA – not enough processing capacity. Even if a processor can be located out-of-state, it’s an expensive and complicated exercise to ship the biomass.
“Pure Shenandoah will provide quality jobs and enable the Commonwealth’s hemp growers to source extraction and processing within Virginia, further benefiting our economy and agricultural ecosystem,” said Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball.
Just a couple of years ago, there were only 85 licensed hemp growers in Virginia and at that point, licensees were growing industrial hemp in collaboration with authorised research universities. Last year, there were around 1,100 registered industrial hemp growers in the state. As at September this year, more than 2,000 acres of industrial hemp was planted this season by 1,227 registered hemp growers in Virginia.