FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Matt Bevin congratulated AgTech Scientific for breaking ground Thursday on a new facility to develop and manufacture hemp-based products in Paris. The facility is part of AgTech’s plan to work with Kentucky farmers to grow hemp and to partner with the University of Kentucky on research.
“The hemp industry is expanding rapidly, and Kentucky is on the leading edge of this growth in terms of its science and commercial viability,” Gov. Bevin said. “AgTech Scientific’s exciting new venture represents a unique collaboration with the state’s agricultural community, the University of Kentucky, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We are grateful for AgTech’s investment in Bourbon County, and we look forward to the innovation and job growth that will take root in the Bluegrass State as a result.”
Today’s ceremony took place in Paris, where AgTech is building a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art structure on a 10-acre site in the Bourbon County Business Park, 333 Cleveland Drive. The company has an option to purchase an additional 10 acres there. AgTech’s initial $5 million investment is expected to grow substantially. AgTech will start with around 50 employees, projected to grow to 271 within three years.
“The Ag Tech team is excited to announce that our first beta test planting season has been a success. We initially planned on 2,000 plants. However, as word and interest in our project spread in the farming community, we ended up planting 200,000 plants in 2018,” said Dr. Brian King, the company’s chief strategy officer. “We are planning to plant over 4 million plants next season. Our new state of the art 50,000-square-foot facility in Bourbon County will allow us to scale operations and ensure top quality throughout the supply chain. We deeply thank everyone in the community who has made this possible. Some of the biggest help came from the Governor, Ag Commissioner Quarles, Congressman Andy Barr, Matt Koch, Bourbon County Executive and all the great farmers of Kentucky.”
More than 6,700 acres of hemp were planted in Kentucky in 2018 under the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, placing the commonwealth behind only Colorado among all states in total industrial hemp acres planted. Approved Kentucky growers have skyrocketed from 20 at the program’s outset in 2014 to 210 in July 2018.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles noted the state’s success in the burgeoning industry.
“Kentucky continues to be a leader in industrial hemp production,” Commissioner Quarles said. “We congratulate AgTech Scientific on this important milestone. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture will continue working hard to position the commonwealth as the epicenter of industrial hemp research.”
AgTech holds both a Processor/Handler License and a Grower License from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture hemp program and intends to partner with Kentucky farmers for largescale 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 CBD 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.
Sen. Stephen West, of Paris, said he is eager to see the fruit of the company’s labor.
“I’m pleased to hear that AgTech Scientific has chosen Paris as the home for its new facility as the hemp industry continues to grow in our state,” Sen. West said. “I look forward to seeing what this partnership with the University of Kentucky can produce and the opportunities it will bring to Bourbon County.”
Paris Mayor Mike Thornton said the company’s presence could have a far-reaching impact locally.
“We are excited to welcome AgTech Scientific to Paris and Bourbon County. I look forward to helping them grow and expand on the opportunities that this area can provide,” Mayor Thornton said. “Their willingness to locate in Paris creates much needed employment opportunities and offers an exciting new process for industrial hemp that will surely be a huge benefit to our local farmers. I anticipate seeing great things from AgTech Scientific in the future.”
Bourbon County Judge-Executive Michael R. Williams said he is proud to see the community at the forefront of a new industry with unlimited potential.
“Bourbon County is thrilled to have AgTech Scientific join our family of business partners. This is a great day for all of Bourbon County and central Kentucky,” Judge-Executive Williams said. “Their impact on our farmers has already been very positive and will continue to bolster our already leading-edge agricultural economy. They will truly be pioneers in an industry that is positioned to bring new prosperity and a bright future to our farms and businesses. Their plans for more than 200 jobs in the processing plant is a major impact to the economy and their confidence and support of Bourbon County will be the inspiration for other businesses who will consider our community in the future. It’s a great day for Bourbon County and a great day for Kentucky. Welcome AgTech Scientific to your new home and your new business family!
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in January preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.4 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
In addition, AgTech can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal year 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.
For more information on AgTech, visit www.agtechscientific.com.
A detailed community profile for Paris and Bourbon County can be viewed at http://bit.ly/BourbonCo.