It was announced that the first hemp processing facility is coming to Virginia. Appalachian Biomass Processing is set to spend $894,000 and bring 13 jobs to Wythe County. Governor Ralph Northam approved a $25,000 grant to aid the project. The company plans to buy more than 6,000 tons of hemp in the next three years. They intend to buy hemp from local producers.
“I am committed to pursuing every path that will attract economic prosperity to our rural communities, and hemp production opens up a wealth of opportunity to bring new jobs and new business to Virginia,” Governor Northam told the press. “We are focused on developing a thriving and sustainable hemp industry in our Commonwealth and by establishing Virginia’s first modern commercial hemp processor, Appalachian Biomass Processing will play a key role in helping to create a highly-anticipated market for our farmers and industrial hemp growers.”
“Industrial hemp holds the potential to be an important crop for our farmers, especially those in the southern and southwestern regions of Virginia,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “Having the infrastructure to process industrial hemp and strong markets in which to sell it are critical to seizing its potential. With more than 1,100 registered industrial hemp growers in Virginia, I am pleased to see the local market for industrial hemp fiber begin to grow.”
“Our production model is an internally reproducible model and can expand to meet the demands of the region’s hemp supply chain,” said the owner of Appalachian Biomass Processing, Susan Moore. “Our team brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and motivation to see this plan to fruition. By working with state and local economic development allies, we hope to help create an entirely new industry for the region.”
Unlike many hemp processing facilities springing up, this one focuses on the stalks of the hemp plant. They will focus on processing large bales of hemp stalks, separating the fiber from the woody core. They will then send the resulting products to other facilities for processing. One buyer will take the raw fiber and turn it into useful textiles, while another will use the hurd for animal bedding.