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Panda Biotech Selects Wichita Falls, Texas, for Industrial Hemp Processing Center

Panda Biotech, a first-mover in the emerging U.S. industrial hemp premium, textile-grade, natural fiber and cellulose industry, contracted for a 500,000 square foot manufacturing facility and surrounding 97-acre campus in Wichita Falls, Texas.

The site, formerly home of General Motors’ Delphi assembly plant, will be the location of the company's state-of-the-art industrial hemp processing center.

“After conducting a state-wide search of potential buildings, in addition to meeting with officials in various cities, we selected Wichita Falls as the perfect location for Panda Biotech’s flagship hemp processing center,” said Scott Evans, executive vice president of Panda Biotech. “The facility we’re moving into boasts 11 acres under roof and enough land to allow for expansion into strategic, new business endeavors that Panda is planning.

“In addition to the local agricultural community, city and county officials have been outstanding to work with and supportive of what they expect to be a global calling card for Wichita Falls as the hub of the next multi-billion-dollar industry,” added Evans. “We’re very excited that this facility will not only help to supply a growing worldwide demand for industrial hemp fiber, but also help to create a new, sustainable industry.”

On July 7, the Wichita Falls City Council unanimously approved an incentive package to attract Panda Biotech to the city.

“Panda Biotech’s vision for the industrial hemp industry is unparalleled, and we’re ready to partner with them to build something extraordinary,” said Henry Florsheim, president and CEO of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce. “This project will have a tremendous impact on our agricultural community and our manufacturing sector at a time when many communities are struggling with economic development. With Panda’s efforts and our support, Wichita Falls will become the worldwide epicenter of industrial hemp research, processing and product development.”

“At full production, the two 10-ton/hour decorticators are expected to process close to 300 million pounds of Texas-grown industrial hemp per year. The fiber will be refined for textile applications, and the hurd will be processed for a variety of industrial purposes. Panda estimates the two decortication lines will generate approximately $30,000,000 per year for Texas farmers,” company officials explained.

The first processing line is currently being manufactured and is on schedule for delivery in December of 2020. Panda Biotech expects its Wichita Falls facility to commence partial operations in the first quarter of 2021 and both lines to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2022. Panda will fill contracts with Texas agricultural producers in the region for the 2021 growing season.

“The Panda Texas Plains Hemp Gin will also be the first facility in the nation to cottonize hemp fiber on a commercial scale for the American textile industry and export customers. In addition, Panda Biotech’s Hemp Gin is likely the only facility in the world dedicated to both the processing and cottonization of hemp fiber in industrial quantities outside of the People’s Republic of China,” noted company officials.

At full production, Panda Biotech expects its Wichita Falls facility to annually produce more than 35 million pounds of apparel-grade, cottonized hemp fiber suitable for use in a variety of yarns for knit and woven textiles.

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