Stephen Halton (center), president of CNY Hemp Processing, cuts the ribbon to mark the grand opening of his hemp processing facility in Canastota. From left to right: Deputy Mayor of Canastota Bill Haddad; Dan Kolinski, deputy director for the CNY Regional Office of Empire State Development; Kip Hicks, executive director of Madison County IDA; Stephen Halton, president of CNY Hemp Processing; Jenn Farwell, Agriculture Economic Development specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County; and Mayor of Canastota Carla DeShaw. (Lauren Young)
A new market for area hemp growers has taken root in Canastota and recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new warehouse and hemp processing center on Barlow Street.
Founded September 2017, CNY Hemp Processing began with the goal to process quality hemp products at an affordable price, working to stay at the forefront of New York State Hemp projects and to find alternative uses for CBD waste — one of the few processers in the country to do so. On Friday, Jan. 11, a ribbon-cutting was held to celebrate the official opening of the 5,700-square-foot facility on 124 Barlow Street, which is used for both storage of raw products and production of finished products.
The business, which recently received a $55,000 grant from New York Empire State Development for future expansions and development, processes industrial hemp, which is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant, a fast-growing plant and one of the first plants to be spun into useable fiber 10,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of commercial uses, like food, biodegradable plastics, rope, clothes, soap, paper, CBD oil and even biofuel.
The business emphasizes staying local, which means buying from local farmers and selling to local communities to help local economies.
“I buy everything in New York State and everything stays in New York State,” said President Stephen Halton. “I take pride in that — I’m a farmer first.”
Halton, a New Woodstock resident, moved from Las Vegas to Central New York with the intention of becoming a farmer — “but that didn’t work,” he said. Instead, he met his wife, Tricia Thompson, and they had three children. Still, he “had that dream of being a farmer.”
So he quit his full-time job to become just that, a move that ended up “working out really well.”
About four years ago he became involved in the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, part of Empire State Development, to start growing hemp, but “found out very quickly that it was more important to create a market for hemp than it was to actually grow hemp,” said Halton.
So he transitioned to processing it instead to help local farmers, which Halton said he has been working on for the last several years.
“It’s a tough industry,” he said. “I try to give [farmers] a good price; since I was a farmer first, I figure out how much they need to make before I figure out how much I need to make.”
Halton said many were interested in dual-purpose hemp, which grows grain and fiber, and realized it was “crucial” for the facility to be “a one-stop shop when farmers who are growing hemp,” so they also introduced an oil line, which can process up to 1,200 pounds an hour.
“It’s great to be revitalizing a very historic industry.” said Halton, who has been processing three main value-added hemp products: pelletized hemp animal bedding, hemp-based heat pellets and hemp seed oil.
Halton said its heat pellets burn completely, are low in ash and can be burned in 80 percent of stoves; Halton’s own home is heated by these pellets. The bedding pellets are 50 percent more absorbent than wood, is warmed in the winter and is dust-free.
“It’s really nice for horses,” he said.
Then there is hemp oil, which is useful for combating a range of skin issues, like acne or dry skin, with its high content of essential nutrients like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
“I am very pleased that CNY Hemp Processing has chosen the Village of Canastota for its company location,” said Mayor Carla DeShaw in a press release. “As a new start-up, we are very excited to be part of and help CNY Hemp Processing’s future growth of jobs and new careers in today’s highly researched hemp industry.”
Halton said he will be hiring two workers within the next week, and plans to hire three to five more workers as the business grows in the next few months.
“I can’t believe we made it this far,” he said. “It’s like a dream come true and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
For more information on CNY Hemp Processing, call 833-247-HEMP, visit its website at Cnyhempprocessing.com or its Facebook page at Facebook.com/CNYHempprocessing. For those interested in becoming a licensed hemp grower, attend the Hemp Growers Roundtable event at 10 a.m. on Jan. 22 at CCE Madison County on 100 Eaton Street in Morrisville. To RSVP or ask questions, contact Jennifer Farwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315-684-3001 ext. 126.
Reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican.
Feb 17, 2019
Feb 17, 2019
Feb 17, 2019