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Steve and Taylor Groff stand inside the facility where they plan to process hemp. (Photo: courtesy Groff North America)

(Harrisburg) — Pennsylvania’s first industrial hemp processing plant since the crop was legalized is slated to open in the midstate this year. 

Steve Groff plans to open the new Groff North America facility with his son in Red Lion, York County.

He said industrial hemp sits at the intersection of several aspects of his life. The former surgeon grew up on a dairy farm and is the founder of Wyndridge Farm, which produces hard cider and hosts events.

Groff said he’s particularly interested in extracting CBD oil, which is believed to have health benefits, and may be one of the more profitable hemp uses.

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An artist rendering of the Groff North America facility planned for Red Lion, York County. (Image courtesy: Groff North America)

“We’re positioning ourselves to be able to take advantage of the ‘gold rush’ if you will for CBD, but long term there’s so many other things this plant can provide with fiber,” Groff said. 

Hemp fiber can be used in products from clothing to paper to building materials.

Groff said with a HempTrain processor purchased from a Canada manufacturer, the facility will be able to process up to 5,000 acres worth of hemp each year. He expects to create 15 to 20 jobs in the first year of operations. 

He said he is contracting with farmers across Lancaster and York counties to provide the crop.

Long-term, Groff said he hopes to see the site evolve into a reseach center, to study the medical applications of hemp.