Halifax County will seek $250,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Commission to help launch a privately-owned hemp processing facility in the county.
The investors, Halifax County natives Sterling Edmunds Jr. and Rick Gregory, both of whom have gone on to successful careers in finance, are pledging matching funds of $6,350,000 from the private venture, code named Project Phoenix.
In the grant request to the tobacco commission, county officials estimate the hemp processing operation will create 41 direct jobs and “hundreds of ancillary jobs” in the first three years.
Brian Brown, executive director of the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority, said Tuesday that he could divulge few details about the venture.
“All I can say is that they’re looking at an existing building” for the operation, said Brown.
The goal, he added, is to have it open within a year.
“Hopefully we can announce something in the near future,” he said.
In the grant application to the agribusiness committee of the Tobacco Commission, officials lay out hemp’s potential as a major cash crop for Southside Virginia, but also describe catch-up efforts to match hemp’s rise in adjoining states. With its agricultural profile and infrastructure, “nowhere is better positioned to take advantage than Virginia’s Tobacco Region.
“However, the crop’s economics are reliant on nearby commercial-scale processing facilities of which none currently exist in the proposed service area. Meanwhile, North Carolina is investing rapidly,” the request notes.