Operation would create 80 jobs in west Kentucky as industry gains momentum
Frankfort, KY — Kentucky continues its role as a national leader in the burgeoning hemp industry as Gov. Matt Bevin announced GenCanna Global USA Inc., a hemp genetics and cannabidiol (CBD) formulation company based in Winchester, will add a new facility in Graves County with a $40 million investment expected to create 80 full-time jobs.
“Kentucky is quickly establishing itself at the forefront of the hemp industry, as this agricultural product begins to take root nationwide,” Gov. Bevin said. “This valuable cash crop has tremendous upside potential in the commonwealth. GenCanna was one of the first companies to capitalize on the Agriculture Act of 2014, and we are grateful that they have chosen to operate and expand in Kentucky.”
The new location comes in response to the company’s fifth – and most successful – growing season. The 100,000-square-foot facility will include drying, storage, extraction and processing operations, and will boost the company’s capacity to 20 times the product grown to date. The operation will allow the GenCanna to better serve its food and beverage industry customers with products including fruit chews, ingestible oils, beverages and cosmetics. Construction is expected to begin in early 2019 and be complete late next year.
“This new facility in Graves County represents the consistent and sustainable growth of both GenCanna and the hemp industry as a whole,” said GenCanna CEO Matty Mangone-Miranda. “We’re proud to continue scaling our economic impact in Kentucky communities by helping farmers farm and making strategic steps like this to expand our leadership position.”
Founded in 2014, GenCanna develops hemp-derived products for wholesale to clients throughout the US and internationally. Through partnerships with Kentucky farmers, the company produces hundreds of acres of hemp biomass each year, which are processed for CBD used in the creation of ingredients and white-labelled hemp-derived CBD products. The company currently employs approximately 150 people in Winchester.
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles said the hemp industry is quickly on the rise in the commonwealth.
“When I was elected commissioner of Agriculture, I said I wanted to make Kentucky the epicenter of the industrial hemp industry in the nation,” Commissioner 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 their success, and look forward to watching them create jobs and provide economic opportunities for all Kentuckians.”
Hemp farming, processing and related-product manufacturing is skyrocketing in Kentucky thanks to several factors. Those include US legislative changes in 2014 allowing state agriculture departments to create pilot programs, the commonwealth’s ideal climate and soil conditions for growing the crop, foresight and involvement from state agencies, willing farmers and processors, and increased industrial, medical and consumer demand for CBD, hemp and fiber products.
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 last year, to 6,700 in 2018. That ranks Kentucky as a national leader, second only to Colorado. The acreage trend, together with investments by processors and manufacturers, and full legalization in the 2018 US farm bill, position the hemp industry for significant growth in Kentucky.
Rep. Richard Heath, of Mayfield, said he is glad to see his local community ahead of the curve in terms of a new and burgeoning industry.
“With the new legalization provisions for industrial hemp in the federal Farm Bill, this is an exciting time for the hemp industry,” Rep. Heath said. “I couldn’t be more excited to see Graves County play a key role in this agricultural comeback, and would like to welcome GenCanna and the 80 new jobs to our community with open arms.”
Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry thanked the company and everyone involved with making the project a reality.
“I would like to thank GenCanna for investing in Graves County. Agriculture is such an important part of our community and economy,” Judge-Executive Perry said. “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.”
Ryan Drane, president of Graves County Economic Development, described the company as a perfect match for the community.
“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,” Drane said. “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.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $1.8 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, GenCanna 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.
For more information on GenCanna, visit https://www.GenCanna.com
A detailed community profile for Graves County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook, follow on Twitter and watch the Cabinet’s “Now You Know” video on YouTube.