Owensboro cosmetic surgeon Dr. Gerald Edds and former owner of Peters Construction Bruce Peters have teamed up to open Owensboro’s first industrial hemp processing facility — Bluegrass BioExtracts. The facility will be operated at 931 Wing Ave., where the former Hon Co. furniture factory was located.
The Wing Avenue facility has 60,000 square feet of space that Bluegrass BioExtracts can operate in. Edds said his company will hire 40 employees and have already hired 13 who’ve helped the company get started.
President Donald Trump signed into law the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 — commonly known as the Farm Bill — on Dec. 20, 2018, after House and Senate approval in early December.
The farm bill removes hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act and legalizes the production of industrial hemp, providing hemp farmers access to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs.
While the new Farm Bill removed hemp as an illegal substance federally, Edds said the Kentucky Hemp Project is a pilot program that’s been in operation for four years already.
“The Farm Bill sort of legitimizes everything we’re trying to do,” Edds said.
Edds said Bluegrass BioExtracts will process the product for farmers who grow hemp, of which there are around 130 across the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. Other states, such as Indiana and Alabama, have also gotten on board with growing hemp, Edds said.
“We’ve reached out to a wide area of growers,” Edds said. “We’ll process their product and sell it to the market.”
Bluegrass BioExtracts doesn’t currently have plans to create their own product and sell it, although Edds said the company is licensed to create a retail product. For now, however, they will primarily function as a processing and distribution site for growers.
Edds said production for the company’s first year is expected to top out at 2 million pounds of processed hemp. That number is expected to double over the following years at 4 million pounds of processed hemp per year.
A grand opening for Bluegrass BioExtracts will be held Friday, May 17 from 3-4 p.m.