AgTech Scientific plans Bourbon County facility to develop hemp-based products; will create 271 jobs

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AgTech Scientific plans to create 271 jobs at a new hemp-products development and manufacturing center in Paris as it forges relationships with Kentucky farmers and partners on research projects with the state’s flagship university.

“AgTech’s plans for Bourbon County put the company at the forefront of realizing Kentucky’s potential as an international leader in hemp production,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “The fact that their business plan includes groundbreaking research being performed at the University of Kentucky and mutually beneficial partnerships with our state’s farmers holds exciting possibilities for both industrial and agricultural hemp. This would not have been possible without last year’s efforts to better align state law with federal guidelines, which ensure hemp is grown and processed with the utmost transparency and under strict law enforcement supervision.”

AgTech leaders plan to buy 10 acres and a 10-acre option in the Bourbon County Business Park to build a state-of-the-art, 50,000-square-foot facility, expected to open in 2018. The company’s $5 million-plus investment could grow in the future.

AgTech holds a conditionally approved 2018 grower license from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program and intends to partner with Kentucky farmers for large-scale hemp production. The company would then extract cannabidiol (CBD) from the locally grown hemp. CBD differs from THC, the intoxicant in marijuana. Initially, the facility would produce an energy drink incorporating a hemp additive and would later expand its product lineup.

In partnership with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, AgTech is researching potential health benefits of hemp-based additives for animal food. AgTech plans to eventually begin manufacturing pet and equine foods, among other products, contingent on changes to regulations.

Mike French, founder and president of AgTech, said the company chose Kentucky based on agricultural and manufacturing advantages. Increasing hemp yield while reducing risk will be key to building trust in the agricultural community and eventually with consumers, he said.

“Kentucky at one point many years ago was responsible for the vast majority of industrial hemp production,” French said. “The growing conditions are excellent and it’s ideally located geographically and near largescale ‘pick-and-pack’ facilities like Amazon.

“We thought it best to cover the full spectrum, from seed to sale. The best way to do that is to work with the farmer. The state needs to replace tobacco as a cash crop, but growers are used to getting a price before they plant. The problem with industrial hemp has been there is not a known commodity price, or price for quality. We are going to work with Kentucky farmers and guarantee a net price per acre through our Kentucky Farmer Value Added Partnership (KFVAP). If farmers are successful, then AgTech will be successful.”

Founded by Canadian entrepreneurs in 2015, AgTech’s leaders spent the last several years planning and seeking the right location for their company. The opportunity to launch AgTech in a state where hemp has such a rich history in tandem with the state’s largest research institution also made Kentucky attractive.

“Our research partnership with the University of Kentucky will be very important,” French said. “We’ve chosen to start with a three-year study, including actual testing, to better understand taste, effectiveness and overall benefits industrial hemp has for the equine industry and pets.”

For more information on AgTech, visit www.agtechscientific.com.

From Governor’s Office

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