Local leaders celebrate hemp processing plant bringing more jobs to west Kentucky

BALLARD COUNTY, KY- Aerosource-H CEO says Ballard County gave them everything they needed to bring their hemp manufacturing plant there.

‘It’s a growing market,” said Julian Lewis, co-CEO of Aerosource-H.

Local and state leaders from Frankfort celebrated the $2.8 million investment Saturday morning at a ribbon cutting ceremony. The company formed less than a year ago, and started work on the Ballard County plant in November. Aerosource-H project manager Deborah Pape says their first priority is the community.

“I’ve had so many people come to interviews and would say ‘Well I’m from Ballard County and I want to move home’ and we hired them,” Pape said.

A bag of processed industrial hemp.

Ballard County helped the company with connections to the community and a gave them a discounted price for their building to encourage the company to come.

Hannah Chretien, executive director of Ballard Economic and Industrial committee, says these jobs create a ripple effect for the area.

“Just because it does not have a direct impact doesn’t mean there isn’t indirect impact,” Chretien said. “For instance if you are a farmer I know the Aerosource is procuring some of their crops from other places within Kentucky, so you could have a chance to be growing for a company like Aerosource and not even be in that community.”

Aerosouce- H co-CEO says west Kentucky is in a great position to be leaders in the hemp industry.

“It’s a really interesting story behind the fact that locally or in Kentucky got to come back from going to tobacco to hemp,” Lewis said, “and that’s a story that’s really easy to get behind.”

Pape says the areas knowledge on Hemp made it easier to invest. Aerosource-H is the only hemp processor and handler in Ballard county and the county currently does not have any hemp growers. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is allowing more people to apply for both licenses in 2019. KDA also approved more than 42,000 acres of Hemp for planting.

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