GREAT BEND, Kan. (KWCH) – A new industry for the state comes with new opportunities for Kansas farmers. The first industrial hemp processing plant in the Midwest is set to open in Great Bend in six weeks.
After decades of being outlawed in the state Kansas legalized the growing of hemp in 2019. That’s when the Baldwin family began farming it in Barton County.
“For CBD originally and some fiber. We’ve transitioned more into fiber and grain production,” South Bend Industrial Hemp Co-owner Aaron Baldwin explained.
The only problem was that there were not any industrial hemp processing plants for hundreds of miles. That’s a major reason many farmers chose not to grow hemp.
“Farmers are interested, but they don’t have a place to take their crop like they would corn, soybeans, milo,” Aaron said.
That’s why the Baldwins decided to take the challenge on themselves, soon opening the state’s first processing plant for hemp fiber and grain.
“Really getting to pioneer a new industry is exciting,” South Bend Industrial Hemp Co-owner Melissa Nelson-Baldwin said.
The plan on starting next week, running last year’s crop through their new machines. After that, they say the opportunities for what can be manufactured from it are endless.