MAYFIELD, Ky. — Vertically integrated, hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) manufacturer GenCanna Global USA Inc. will create 80-plus jobs for Kentuckians with a new $40 million multipurpose processing facility in Mayfield, Graves County Economic Development and its partners announced today.
Winchester, Ky.-based GenCanna will purchase land in the Graves County Opportunity Zone for its facility. The company will be significantly expanding its capacity, which will include debuting new processing technology in the region. Local engineering, contracting and supply firms are engaged in the project, with start dates coming shortly after property closing. Gen-Canna’s other facility in Western Kentucky, a 120,000-s.f. building in downtown Paducah, will be a supply-chain partner of the future Mayfield production.
Increasing demand for hemp products prompted the new project and will be buoyed by the newly passed 2018 Farm Bill, which cleared Congress on Wednesday.
GenCanna has experienced a warm reception from local farmers and is eager to expand its Certified Farming Network. The phase 1 buildout in Mayfield will allow the company to service farmers in the state’s Purchase Region in 2019, with expected phase 2 expansion opening up potential for farmers in the broader Delta region. GenCanna’s commitment to Kentucky is reflective of the very positive experience over the past five years with all elements of the state’s agricultural leadership.
Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner and longtime hemp advocate, celebrated the announcement as a sign of the future economic growth this industry will bring to the region.
“When I was elected Commissioner of Agriculture, I said I wanted to make Kentucky the epicenter of the industrial hemp industry in the nation,” Quarles said. “With announcements like these, Kentucky is proving that hemp is no longer a novelty but a serious crop that connects our past to our future. I congratulate GenCanna on its success, and look forward to watching them create jobs and provide economic opportunities for all Kentuckians.”
GenCanna President Steve Bevan told The Lane Report that the company’s strategy is to position its products as superior in quality specifically because they originate in Kentucky, which has been aggressive in setting strong regulatory parameters. The FDA is likely to follow Kentucky’s lead and might even adopt much of the commonwealth’s standards, according to Bevan.
The company sees Kentucky-based operations as a competitive advantage moving forward in the high-margin CBD oil market. Hemp represents a significant new cash crop for commonwealth farmers. The 12 farming operations that worked with GenCanna in the past year took in $5 million in payments, Bevan said.
GenCanna began operations in Winchester, Ky., in May 2014, as inaugural members of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. Company leaders plan to start the facility’s construction in February 2019 and be ready for harvest in the fourth quarter of the year.
“Our strategic plan has been simple – continue investing to best support our customers and the ongoing growth of the hemp industry,” said Matty Mangone-Miranda, CEO of GenCanna and a longtime veteran of the industry. “After looking at several locations for a facility, we decided to land in Graves County. The opportunity to partner with large, sophisticated farming operations and proximity to interstates makes this the next perfect location in Kentucky. Graves and the neighboring counties also provide a skilled workforce to draw from to make high quality products in a technical environment.”
GenCanna has been at the forefront of developing the rapidly expanding hemp industry. The company’s commitment to industry leading farming, science and compliance has created groundbreaking relationships with state and federal law enforcement, universities, other education institutions, and fellow agriculture-technology specialists.
“It has been a pleasure working with GenCanna during their site selection process and we are thrilled they have selected Graves County as their preferred location for a new hemp processing facility,” said Ryan Drane, president of Graves County Economic Development (GravesCountyED.com). “The company is first-class in their industry and is a perfect match with our county’s rich history in agriculture. I want to thank the GenCanna’s leadership team for their confidence in our community and our farmers.”
Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry expressed gratitude for GenCanna’s commitment and investment in Kentucky family farming communities.
“I would like to thank GenCanna for investing in Graves County,” Perry said. “Agriculture is such an important part of our community and economy. Seeing new companies coming in, making large investments and hiring our local people helps to continue with our vision to see our County thrive. In addition, I would like to thank all those locally who have worked on making this possible. We have a great team that is focused on growing Graves County. We are very blessed.”