Construction is underway on a nearly $40 million, 75,000 square-foot hemp processing facility in Carlisle County. California-based company Kings Royal Biotech and Chinese partners Hemp Investment Group (HMI Group) joined local officials in a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
The Bardwell facility will process pharmaceutical-grade Cannabidiol (CBD) Isolate. CBD oil is growing in popularity as a treatment for anxiety and inflammation, among ailments.
Kings Royal COO Keith Taylor said HMI Group is supplying technology for the facility. According to Kings Royal, HMI Group specializes in the extraction and crystallization process for producing pharmaceutical-grade CBD Isolate. Schiavi Seeds, LLC. is providing the seeds for the project - Andrea Schiavi is the CEO and Founder of the company and lives in Lexington.
State Senator and former Governor Julian Carroll said the groundbreaking is a 'momentous occasion' for Kentucky's western river counties. "You now have a plant that's going to be one of its kind in America right here in Carlisle County," Carroll said.
Carroll and others credited recent changes to state law for paving the way for hemp manufacturing. Specifically, Carroll credited Kentucky 1st District Congressman James Comer (whose district includes Carlisle County) for spearheading hemp legislation efforts while he was the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture. Comer has also recently sponsored federal legislation to ease hemp restrictions.
Carlisle County Judge-Executive Greg Terry said, "It blesses my heart that I'm from a farming community and we get to bring something that really means a lot in a farming community and the things that can come off of the hemp industry." He added that the company locating in Carlisle County gives young people in the area something to work toward as many of the jobs require post-secondary degrees.
Taylor said the company is looking to have the facility up and running by September. He said 'dirt is already moving.'
Taylor's father Ken Kohlenberger is the project manager. Ron Kohlenberger of Texas-based Prosperix Construction is the general contractor. Arrangements are underway to hire local subcontractors.
Kings Royal plans to hire at least 100 workers. Taylor said those jobs will range in earnings - some in the six-figure range. He said he wants to hire as many locals as possible.
The company has partnered with local farmers for 2,300 acres of hemp to be harvested in the fall and for processing in late 2018.