FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Farmers in Florence County hope industrial hemp will replace tobacco as a staple crop in the Pee Dee region.
Recently, Tucker Naturals, a Boston-based company, announced its plans to build an industrial hemp facility on land at the Godley Morris Commerce Center in Lake City.
âOne of the greatest things that it does is support the agribusiness and the farmers in the region and statewide, so itâs a win-win for everybody –Â the farmers, Lake City, Florence County, Pee Dee and the state of South Carolina,â Billy Morris, general manager of Carhop Investments, LLC, a company partnering with Tucker Naturals, said.
Robbie Springs, a farmer in Williamsburg County, said now that tobacco farms barely exist, he hopes industrialist hemp will restore the farming industry to its former glory.
âThatâs a lot of jobs thatâs gone, thatâs left this area, so hopefully job creation and revenue in this community and others just like us will be very important through hemp,â Springs said.
The new facility will extract and process industrial hemp for medical purposes.
More importantly, the companyâs mission is to educate South Carolina farmers who participate in the stateâs industrial hemp pilot research initiative on how to grow the crop successfully.
Even though hemp is similar to the process of growing tobacco, Springs said the relationship between the farmers and Tucker Naturals will be essential.
âGetting involved personally with the farmer and not just having a place to take it, but start to finish, thatâs very important,â Springs said. âFor us, this will be all new and we need somebody to help us in the process of growing it.â
Tucker Naturals plans to have the facility up and running before it’s time to harvest the industrial hemp. That should be around late October or early November of 2018.