EcoGen Biosciences has purchased General Processing LLC, a Delta-based hemp processing and extraction company, allowing them to expand production.
General Processing had recently completed construction on a 50,000-square-foot production campus in Delta with a 165-acre farm. The facility is Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) compliant, which EcoGen President Garrett Bain said was already a goal for the company.
“General Processing really was an opportunity for us to accelerate our plans,” Bain said. “We were anticipating having to build out, invest, in the facility we had in Olathe. Our longer term plan was to build that out into a cGMP lab space, production space.”
Bain explained that cGMP is a third-party auditing scheme that will help position it for compliance with future regulatory requirements and to maintain a high quality standard for its products.
“This facility gave us access to a facility that is already operating under that scheme,” Bain said. “It was something we had planned to grow into and build into but, with the acquisition, we’ve been able to accelerate that. We’ve been on site operating that facility and we’re excited to move onto the next phase of the business a year ahead of time.”
In addition to expanding its production capacity, Bain said the purchase would allow the company to offer new products. He said they are currently in the research and development stage, but that new products were expected to be announced in the coming months.
This acquisition comes at the end of a turbulent year for EcoGen. EcoGen itself was purchased by California based Kadenwood, LLC, earlier this year after it had laid off more than 100 employees. However, Bain said they have hired around 20 new employees to help staff the new facility bringing the total number of employees to around 75.
Going forward, Bain said the company was optimistic about its future prospects. While the company will consolidate all of its production at the Delta facility, Bain said the company is maintaining its operations in Mesa County.
“We still maintain greenhouse operations in Palisade,” Bain said. “We still have our administrative headquarters in Grand Junction, as well as our fabrication team and fabrication shop.”
That headquarters, which had been located at the former Grand Junction Steel building, has moved to a new location on 31 Road, Bain said. He said that while that location has changed, they do not plan on leaving the area.
“We are committed to being here,” Bain said. “I think you’ll see that through our growth and our hiring here in the coming weeks and months.”
Much of that growth will depend on the hemp and CBD market as a whole.
After years of strong growth, the industry has seen a market correction this year. It is also facing new regulations in the United States and around the world.
“I think if we can come out of the winter and get into springtime where lockdowns are eased up and the economy starts moving and we have some favorable regulation progress, I think that’s when you’re really going to see the impact and we’re going to be able to open up the floodgates,” Bain said. “For now we’re trying to maintain our existing workforce. We’ve added significantly since the acquisition in August.”