Blue Ribbon Extraction Plans Large-Scale Hemp Processing Plant in South Boston, Virginia
“We look forward to partnering with farmers to establish a local market for a new agricultural crop right here at home in Halifax County,” said Co-CEOs, Sterling Edmunds, Jr. and Rick Gregory. “We currently have 1.2 million pounds of hemp under contract with farmers for the 2020 growing season. With the support of our partners in Halifax County and the Town of South Boston, Blue Ribbon is off to a great start and, at full capacity, has the ability to process 6 million pounds of hemp annually. Approximately $10 million will be invested in bringing this project to reality for Southern Virginia.”
According to state officials,the project will create 22 new jobs and the company has committed to sourcing over 90 percent of hemp purchases from Virginia growers, resulting in more than $70 million in payments to Virginia farmers over the next three years. Using state-of-the-art equipment, the company expects to be able to process up to 5,000 pounds of industrial hemp per day, primarily grown by local farmers, most of whom are current or former tobacco farmers
“Encouraging the development of new markets for Virginia farmers is one of our top priorities for growing the Commonwealth’s agricultural economy,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “I am pleased to see that industrial hemp continues to create opportunity and economic vibrancy in rural Virginia, and I congratulate Halifax County, Blue Ribbon Extraction, and all other partners involved in bringing this important new processing capacity to our Commonwealth.”
“There has been tremendous growth in Virginia’s industrial hemp industry, creating new opportunities for rural communities to thrive,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “By locating this large processing facility in an emerging geographic center of industrial hemp production, Blue Ribbon Extraction will create a local market for the crop, addressing one of the biggest challenges currently facing the industrial hemp industry in Virginia.”
“We are proud to welcome Blue Ribbon Extraction to Halifax County and the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The hemp industry represents exciting opportunities for Virginia farmers, and I am confident Southern Virginia will provide a topnotch workforce for the hemp industry to grow and succeed.”
This project was made possible by a strong partnership of private sector leadership and public sector support involving a broad coalition of economic development allies, state officials said. The company’s founders and primary investors, Richmond residents Rick Gregory and Sterling Edmunds, are both natives of Halifax County and are committed to bringing new jobs and economic opportunity to their home county.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Halifax County, the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority, the Town of South Boston, the South Boston IDA, and the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance to secure this project for the Commonwealth.
As an incentive, Governor Northam approved a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which is being matched by the Halifax IDA to assist with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission’s Agribusiness Committee also committed $250,000 to the project. Blue Ribbon Extraction qualifies for state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Funding and services to support the company’s job creation will be provided through VEDP’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
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