CLINTWOOD, VA – SEPTEMBER 8, 2020 — The growing of industrial hemp in Virginia has a long history tied to it, having been grown in Virginia as early as the mid-1600s. As laws began to change in Virginia in recent years to allow for the production of hemp, the Meade family in Dickenson County saw a new opportunity arise and formed Lil’ Doc Hollow Hemp, LLC.
The company — owned by Robert Meade Sr., Brenda Meade, Brandon Meade and Trista Meade, all of Clintwood — was a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.
In Virginia, growers and processors of industrial hemp are licensed by the state.
According to the Meades, their hemp production is focused on growing the plants for their textile and their medicinal-like properties, with the goal being to grow a locally sourced product and then to sell the hemp or down the road to process it themselves to provide an array of products, like tinctures and salve, edibles and other health and wellness products.
“Assisting area small businesses in their start-up and continued growth is what the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant program is all about,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Lil’ Doc Hollow Hemp LLC projects their business will have four full-time and five part-time employees by the fifth year.”
“We have always been interested in the possibilities of growing hemp and in our research, we saw what some call the ‘green rush,’ coming and decided it was the perfect time to do this,” Trista Meade said. “It’s a new opportunity in Virginia, but there is a lot of history tied to the growing of hemp in the state.”
Meade said hemp properties are well suited to textiles and rope, but she added, hemp has several other herbal medicinal properties as well.
“There are so many opportunities and that’s why we chose to go with this venture at this time,” Meade added.
She noted that where the families live in Clintwood, they have available land on which to grow hemp and with the abundance of surface mined land in the area, she suggested the growing opportunities are great, especially if land owners look at planting hemp, initially for reclamation purposes.
Hemp has a low THC content which allows its use in the CBD market, Meade explained.
While growing by Lil’ Doc Hollow Hemp LLC this year has primarily been in a small greenhouse, Meade said the company hopes to expand its growing operations to 365 days a year and to create a storefront. Next year, she said, they plan to plant hemp on some of their property acreage.
“We are working with the extension office and testing the soil now to make the amendments it needs so we will be ready to go when growing season starts next year,” Meade said.
It normally takes the plant three to four months to mature when grown in the field, she added.
“The VCEDA seed capital grant created a huge opportunity for us,” Meade said. “We had pretty much put in all we could to start this business ourselves and the grant has allowed us to go in some different directions to get us to the next level. When VCEDA chose us for a seed capital grant, especially at this uncertain time in the world, it really boosted our confidence and got us excited.”
The grant funds are being used to purchase growing supplies and other essentials to get the business up and running.
The Meades worked with Margie Douglass as the Southwest Virginia Community College Small Business Development Center. The Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority provided a letter of support for the project.
For additional information about Lil’ Doc Hollow Hemp LLC, interested persons may call 276-870-5796. The company is also on Facebook at lildochollowhemp.
About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.
About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.