"Sen. Elder Vogel Jr., R-Rochester, asked Redding to weigh in on industrial hemp and its future as federal restrictions have been loosened.
“From what I’ve been hearing, it’s going to take off like wildfire,” Vogel said. “I believe it’s going to provide the niche we need for agriculture.”
Although there are some issues that still need to be hashed over with federal officials, Redding said he is optimistic industrial hemp will have a meaningful impact on Pennsylvania agriculture. When asked by Vogel, Redding said there will not be a cap on the amount of available acreage.
“We are hopeful – very hopeful – that we’ll have a good year,” Redding said. “We’re excited about the opportunities that industrial hemp will offer.”
Industrial hemp, the opioid crisis and the future of the Farm Show Complex were among the disparate issues Pennsylvania lawmakers discussed with the head of the commonwealth’s Department of Agricult...
"Local farmer Dan Innerst says with the processing plant so close, he's devoting the majority of his fields to hemp. He said hemp is easy to grow, cheap to maintain, and potentially much more profitable than his typical crop of corn and beans.
"Every year, we put seed in the ground and hope Mother Nature returns," Innerst said. "Hemp is going to be the same way."
Groff says 3,500 acres of farmland in York and Lancaster counties will be devoted to growing hemp for his processing plant."
"An entrepreneur with Lancaster County roots is developing a hemp processing facility across the river that will be the state’s largest.
Steve Groff, a Dallastown farmer and licensed surgeon, plans to use innovative Canadian machinery to process whole hemp plants for fiber and chemicals.
“I think this is something that’s going to expand rapidly,” said Groff, a Strasburg native.
To carry out the hemp processing, Groff has launched a new company named Groff North America with his wife Julie and their son Taylor.
The family is investing more than $2 million to get the venture operational. A startup is expected in August or September.
The Groffs’ endeavor takes advantage of an opportunity created by the federal Farm Bill, signed in December by President Donald Trump. The law deregulates industrial hemp and makes commercial production possible; previously, only pilot programs were allowed.
That law reverses decades of banishment, imposed because hemp comes from the same species as marijuana.
But hemp contains only a trace of its cousin’s high-inducing ingredient, THC.
Hemp, on the other hand, offers myriad industrial uses, from concrete reinforcement to fabric to cat litter.
A hemp extract, CBD, is also reputed to have medical uses.
“We truly believe in the future of this plant...,” said Groff. “The diverse uses of this plant are simply incredible.”
Groff’s announcement is a key step in Pennsylvania’s race to develop a hemp supply chain.
Hemp advocates have long argued that attracting processing would be the biggest challenge after legalization, with the quickest states likely to get the fattest market share.
Pennsylvania is certainly in that mix. In January, it became the second state to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for handling the newly legalized crop.
Though growers still need to get a state permit, the state has removed caps on the number of hemp growers and the amount of acres they can plant.
Three companies are already processing hemp to some degree in the state, according to a state Department of Agriculture spokeswoman.
Groff’s venture is at least the second major hemp processing project to be unveiled in the mid-Atlantic region this year.
Ontario-based Canopy Growth said in January that it would build a $100 million-$150 million processing plant in New York’s southern tier."
Steve Groff, owner of Wyndrige Farm in Dallastown and a licensed physician, is purchasing a $1.5 million Canadian-made machine, named the HempTrain, that can mass process hemp. The machine will be installed in an 80,000-square-foot warehouse in Red Lion.
Groff's HempTrain is currently being manufactured by Canadian Greenfield Technologies in Calgary, Alberta and will arrive in Red Lion in mid- to late-summer. Groff expects to be processing hemp this fall.
“It’s very exciting,” Canadian Greenfield Vice President Stephen Christensen said. “We’ve seen a huge amount of interest since the Farm bill and it’s only increasing.”
The HempTrain can process up to 5,000 acres of hemp per year and will be the first of its kind in the country.
“No other company in the United States has anything like this ready to scale up,” Groff said. “We’re buying the first machine in the country, and it’ll be right here in York County."
Groff is launching a Company called Groff North America with his wife, Julie, and son, Taylor, who has an agriculture business degree from West Virginia University.
“They are very ‘get it done’ people. Most people we meet express a huge desire for a HempTrain, but they have some kind of turnaround window,” Christensen said. “The Groff’s saw it and basically told us that this was getting done.”