CADIZ, Ky. â€” Vertical Wellness celebratedÂ itsÂ one year anniversary in style Friday withÂ hemp bales wrapped in pink plastic leading the way to the facility.
Along with tours of theÂ 90,000-square-foot processing plant, the Hemp Harvest for Humankind event featured performances by Stephen Cochran and his band, a cookout and over $25,000 in donations toÂ areaÂ nonprofits.
Local farmer Joseph Kelly opened the event speaking about his experienceÂ growingÂ hemp for VerticalÂ Wellness, which opened last October in Cadiz asÂ part of a $5 million investment by the national hemp company.
â€śThere are so many different things you can do with this plant, so many different products,”Â Kelly said. “There doesnâ€™t seem to be any negative side effects. … I chose Vertical because of the good family nature and all around positivity and giving back to the community.â€ť
AssistantÂ dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture Dr. Brian Parr spoke about the research that Murray State University is doing with hemp, including streamlining the growing and harvesting process, using hemp for chicken, cattle and horse feed, and studying the effects of CBD oil on geriatric dogs.
Parr praised Vertical Wellness for the workÂ the company isÂ doing in the industry and for the community.
â€śI have gotten to know the guys at Vertical Wellness really well over the past few months,â€ť Parr said. â€śThey came in kind of quietly. They came in by action. They came in making things happen. They came in hiring people. They came in talking to farmers and they came in not making promises that they couldnâ€™t keep.â€ť
CEO Smoke WallinÂ said the company has about 40 employees and hopes to have 100 once it’s fully staffed.
Employees welcomedÂ the communityÂ inside the processing plant Friday to explain each process that theÂ hempÂ goes through during processing and the uses for CBD oil once it’s extracted.
In the next year the company plans to launch its product line of CBD tinctures, bath bombs and soap, to name a few. Guests of Friday’s event went home with free CBD breath strips.
Chief Operating Officer Drew Milburn thanked the community forÂ itsÂ support and spoke to the visitors about what the last year has brought for the company and what they plan to do in the future.
â€śAll of the effort that goes into this is not for the faint of heart,â€ť Milburn said. â€śI hope that when you tour the facility, that you see how much effort has gone into making this happen. I am very fortunate to say that we have assembled a team that is pulling it off.â€ť
WallinÂ presentedÂ $10,000Â checksÂ to St. Jude Childrenâ€™s Hospital and Tahneeâ€™s Foundation, and $5,000 to Stop22 veteran suicide prevention program. Wallin saidÂ they plan to make donations to the foundations each harvest season.
â€śWe are here to celebrate,â€ť Wallin said. â€śTo have all of these pink bales, which has designated all of the goodwill that we feel about this plant and giving, this (hemp) plant really gives back to the community and that is the spirit that we feel here.â€ť
Sarah Elliott is a reporter for The Cadiz Record. New Era Editor Zirconia Alleyne contributed to this report. ReachÂ herÂ at firstname.lastname@example.org.