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With passage of farm bill, KY-based hemp company GenCanna Global announces $40m expansion

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The federal farm bill, passed this week by Congress and awaiting the signature of President Trump, has already spurred the expansion of a Kentucky-based hemp company.

Winchester-based GenCanna Global USA, Inc., announced that it plans to open a new $40 million multi-processing facility in Mayfield, which will create over 80 new jobs.

GenCanna will be purchasing land in the Graves County Opportunity Zone, significantly expanding their existing production capacity, which will include debuting new processing technology in the region.

The company’s other facility in west Kentucky, a 120,000 square foot building in downtown Paducah, will be a supply-chain partner of the future Mayfield operation.

GenCanna, a hemp producer based in Winchester, announced an expansion to Mayfield with a $40 million facility. (Photo by GenCanna)

GenCanna began operations in Winchester May 2014, as one of the first 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.

Kentucky Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles, a 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,” he 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.”

Matty Mangone-Miranda, CEO of GenCanna and a longtime veteran of the industry, explained why he chose the site.

“After looking at several locations for a facility, we decided to land in Graves County,” he said. “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.”

“Kentucky is quickly establishing itself at the forefront of the hemp industry, as this agricultural product begins to take root nationwide,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “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.”

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-labeled hemp-derived CBD products. The company currently employs approximately 150 people in Winchester.

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.

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