FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 18, 2018) – Gov. Matt Bevin congratulated AgTech Scientific for breaking ground today 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.