VERNON, AL. (WCBI)- Farmers in Mississippi and Alabama could soon have a new cash crop.
The recent Farm Bill passed by Congress lifted restrictions on the growing of industrial Hemp, leaving the decision and regulations up to the States.
On Monday night, city leaders in Vernon had a chance to hear from Bama Bio Tech Corporation, a company that wants to make Lamar County a center for production.
The plant is used for a variety of reasons, such as plant and clothing fibers to medical purposes.
“Hemp is not a drug,” said Greg Lowery, Founding Director and Shareholder with Bama Bio Tech Corporation. “Hemp is actually a totally different bush than marijuana. Marijuana is where your drug is. Hemp is where we make products.”
Lowery said once farmers obtain their license, they’ll contact them to begin producing for them.
The proposed plan is to set up manufacturing facilities in West Alabama that will distribute hemp all across the world.
The first phase would include a facility that produces CBD Oil, and Phase II would be a facility that extracts fibers from the plant.
“We’ve taken all of the risk and all of the element out of the farmers hand,” Lowery explained. “The biggest problem the farmer was worried about was would there be too much THC in this plant, then all of a sudden here’s the feds burning up my fields. We have genetically altered seeds that will not produce the THC in the hemp plant that we need for the criteria for the products that we’re going to make.”
According to Lowery, the potential project is something that’ll be very lucrative to farmers.
“Four thousand pounds per acre, 3800 plants,” said Lowery. “You do the math, $20 a pound, that’s about 80 grand.”
But not only would farmers be able to cash in, so would municipalities.
The plan includes setting up facilities in Fayette and Marion Counties as well.
The first phase of the project is expected bring in roughly 120 jobs to the area.
Vernon Mayor Glenn Crawford said it’s an idea the board is strongly considering.
“The possibility of bringing an economic development project into this area, for us, is going to kind of be a moot point,” Mayor Crawford expressed. “We’re going to be excited about it, a lot of jobs are being offered out there and if we can get a small part of it that’s what we’re going to do.”
So far, none of the municipalities included in the plan have agreed to move forward with the project, but they are expressing strong interest.
The plan it’s for the company to set up a corporate office in Fayette County.
If everything comes to fruition, Lowery said it’ll take them 150 days to get their first facility up and running.