A Charleston-based company is building a hemp research and production "innovation center" on 85 acres just outside of Orangeburg.
BrightMa Farms expects to invest between $25 million to $30 million and create 30 new jobs. It also plans to create internship opportunities for students at South Carolina State University and, eventually, Claflin University.
"This will be an economic engine for the State of South Carolina," said Sherman "Sherm" Evans, who leads BrightMa Farms' strategic partnerships and vision board strategy functions. The company broke ground on April 29 for a facility on Farnum Road, located off of Columbia Road north of Orangeburg.
The company is currently partnering with S.C. State's 1890 Research and Extension to make the project a reality. "Our relationship with BrightMa Farms represents the very best in strategic partnerships," 1890 Land Grant Programs Vice President and Executive Director Dr. Louis Whitesides said.
"By combining expertise and resources, we are able to push through limitations with the expectation to innovate in an emerging crop industry and grow exponentially viable opportunities for the state's small minority farmers," he said.
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