BY CLAIRE KOWALICK, TIMES RECORD NEWS \ 12.3.20
Operations are taking shape and the facility that will soon be home to the largest hemp-processing plant of its kind in the world, right here in Wichita County.
Panda Biotech offered a sneak peak Thursday at a few of the components in their hemp decortication and cottonizing processes.
Unlike hemp grown for CBD oil, industrial hemp comes from a different variety of plant that is larger and drier, similar to bamboo.
Scott Evans, executive vice president with Panda Biotech said they are excited to see equipment being moved into the building, bringing them that much closer to opening for business in the next couple of years.
When complete, the facility will have two production lines, each with a hemp gin that can process 10 tons of product per hour.
From stem to stalk to even the dust from the plant – Evans said the process is zero waste with each product having an end use from clothing, bedding for animals to biofuel and animal feed.
The first hemp gin is expected to arrive at the facility in the later part of 2021.
When up and running, they will have 75 regular employees, but Evans said there are likely to be hundreds of indirect new jobs in the area from hemp producers to hemp-related retailers.
Currently, Evans said France has the largest hemp-processing facility in the world with the capability of processing seven tons of product per hour.