FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 9, 2019) – As Kentucky’s hemp industry forges ahead, state officials today congratulate industrial hemp processor AerosourceH LLC on a $2.8 million expansion at the company’s Ballard County facility, a move expected to create 14 full-time jobs.
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles congratulated AerosourceH on its expansion.
“When I became Commissioner of Agriculture, I promised to make Kentucky the epicenter of hemp production in the United States,” Commissioner Quarles said. “I am proud of the work the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has done to create an environment for this crop to thrive. I congratulate AerosourceH on their success and wish them well as they grow in the future.”
Under the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, which began in 2014, Kentucky’s acreage of planted hemp jumped from 2,300 acres in 2016 to 3,200 in 2017, to 6,700 last year. That ranks Kentucky as a national leader, second only to Colorado. The acreage trend, along with investments by processors and manufacturers, and full legalization in the 2018 US farm bill, position the hemp industry for significant continued growth in the commonwealth.
“The Bluegrass State continues to lead the way in revolutionizing the hemp industry, and AerosourceH is one of many Kentucky companies finding early success in this emerging market,” Gov. Matt Bevin said. “As this crop takes root nationwide, the commonwealth’s efforts to set the table for economic prosperity are already paying dividends. We congratulate AerosourceH on its rapid growth, and we look forward to more success stories in the years ahead.”
The company, which produces cannabidiol (CBD) isolate and water soluble nano emulsified CBD for the wholesale market, held an open house today to introduce itself to the community and celebrate the initiation of its second-phase expansion.
Just months after the company formed in April 2018, AerosourceH leaders quickly saw a need for expansion. Following its initial $2.6-million investment to lease and renovate a facility in Ballard County, purchase and install equipment, buy hemp from licensed growers and hire employees, the company found itself producing at capacity with prospective customers for all of its CBD isolate product.
With a readily available pool of Kentucky residents seeking employment and customers inquiring daily about purchasing CBD, AerosourceH decided an expansion was the appropriate next step for the businesses and the community.
“We are proud of the team we have assembled and the growth we have been able to achieve early in our process. We aim to set a new standard in our industry through a steadfast commitment to producing the highest quality product, in a world-class laboratory with the top talent and sources available,” said Nathaniel Pape, AerosourceH COO. “We are grateful for all of the support we have received and for Kentucky’s vision to open crucial economic development pathways.”
AerosourceH formed as an independent company to manufacture CBD isolate from industrial hemp for the wholesale market. Shortly after, the company leased its facility from the county’s local economic development arm, Ballard Economic Development and Industrial Development. To date, the company has made all of its product exclusively from Kentucky-grown hemp.
Kentucky has quickly developed into a national leader in the hemp industry because of several factors, such as US legislative changes in 2014 allowing state agriculture departments to create pilot programs, ideal climate and soil conditions for growing the crop, proactive state agencies, a pool of willing farmers and processors, and increased industrial, medical and consumer demand for CBD, hemp and fiber products.
Rep. Steven Rudy, of Paducah, said the state’s proactive efforts have contributed to hemp’s early success in Kentucky.
“Thanks to the General Assembly’s foresight in 2013 to offer industrial hemp as a viable alternative crop, Kentucky farmers are now leading the nation in the effort to fully integrate hemp into our agriculture economy,” Rep. Rudy said. “I was proud to help lead the way in the push for hemp as a member of the Agriculture Committee and look forward to seeing AeroSource expand in Ballard County and put more of our people to work.”
Ballard County Judge-Executive Todd Cooper thanked all involved for helping make this expansion possible.
“We are so excited AerosourceH picked Kentucky to start their business endeavor last spring. We are very excited to hear about how quick AerosourceH’s expansion, utilizing state initiatives, has come to fruition,” Judge-Executive Cooper said. “Governor Bevin and his team at the economic development cabinet are super motivated for Kentucky to lead the nation in new industry and becoming more business friendly, through existing business retention and expansion efforts.
“Hats off to Commissioner Quarles and his team at the Department of Agriculture to help educate the public and to work tirelessly to assist the Hemp Industry in Kentucky. Actions speak louder than words, and the leadership team in Frankfort is on fire.”
Hannah Chretien, Executive Director of Ballard Economic & Industrial Development Committee, said the company is a dedicated business partner to Kentucky.
“AerosourceH has not only brought additional employment to our area – they are also a wonderful partner for our county and the state of Kentucky,” Chretien said. “They are committed to hiring locally and are already making strides to help educate our region on hemp and CBD oil. We are grateful for the hard work of Governor Bevin and our Kentucky officials in setting the legal framework which has laid the groundwork necessary for AerosourceH to thrive in Western Kentucky.
“We look forward to the future growth opportunities that AerosourceH has opened for our region, and are eager to hear of their many successes to come.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in February preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $300,000 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.
Additionally, AerosourceH 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.A