Wythe County, Virginia is the planned home of the state’s first industrial hemp fiber processing center, according to a report by the Governor’s office. The firm in charge of the project has plans to invest $894,000 into the site and purchase 6,000 tons of hemp over the next three years.
Called the Appalachian Biomass Processing Facility, the site will create 13 jobs with help from a $25,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development fund. The grant will also be matched by Wythe County.
Governor Ralph Northam is enthusiastic about hemp as an industrial product and hopes that the industry will open up opportunities to bring new jobs and businesses into the state. The facility will play its part in creating a market for farmers of hemp and play a key role in the state’s hemp economy.
“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,” said Governor Northam. “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.”
The company will be using machines that take bales of hemp and strip out the bast fibers to be used in the textile industry, and chop up the hurd for other uses like animal bedding or hempcrete.
This facility will help to service the 1,100 registered hemp growers in the state, helping to fill out key infrastructure sorely needed in the hemp industry as a whole at this juncture.