RUSSELL, Kan. (KSNW) – The city of Russell threw a party Thursday for a hemp-based business that could bring up to 900 jobs to the area.
“We are very excited to be here,” said Elizabeth Grover with Mechanized Concepts from Utah.
Russell city and county officials held a ribbon cutting Thursday with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly.
“I’m glad we’ve got the research going on now. We will have the hemp development going on,” said Governor Kelly. “And now we have a place to actually to take it to market.”
Mechanized Concepts is an engineering firm that builds mechanical concepts to fit all kinds of business needs.
In Russell, the firm will focus on hemp. It will sell specialized hemp harvest equipment and offer expertise in hemp seeds and marketing.
Janae Talbott is is with Russell County economic development.
“We’ve been working on industrial hemp for six years,” said Talbott.
Talbott says the group has closely watched and worked on industrial hemp bills in Kansas.
Governor Kelly says since lawmakers passed a hemp bill, to allow a pilot program for hemp, Kansas farmers now have another option for making money.
And it took a lot of research and debate before getting the measure passed.
“Kansas lawmakers are conservative and want to make sure they’ve got all the information before they jump out and vote for something,” said Governor Kelly.
The company already has employees in Russell. It plans to add up to 25 employees by the end of the year with another 200 in a couple of years.
The company hopes to hire up to 900 within a few years.