Leaf River Extraction in rental agreement to lease former KLH building in Prentiss

Published 1:10 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Town of Prentiss has entered into a lease agreement with Leaf River Extraction. Leaf River Extraction is a grower and producer of hemp oil and CBD products.  The company will lease the former blue KLH building on John Street Extension in Prentiss. The company also sells lighting systems, seeds, a proprietary soil mixture and clones. Eric Sorenson, is the owner of Leaf River Extraction and is the largest grower of industrial hemp in the State of Mississippi.

His company has outgrown its current space in Jasper County and was in need of a place to expand as the industrial hemp industry and markets grow.

“We’re excited about entering into this agreement with Leaf River Extraction,” said Prentiss Mayor Charley Dumas. “Hemp production is a cutting-edge agri-business industry in the State of Mississippi and the Town of Prentiss is grateful for them selecting our facility for their use. We are looking forward to a long and productive future with them.”

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Sorenson, and his wife Melanie, are also founders of the Mississippi Industrial Hemp Association. The MIHA will also be stationed in the building in Prentiss.

“This all started with Thomas Brewer setting up a meeting for us through the JDC MSU Extension Office,” said Sorenson. Brewer set up the meeting at the Ezra Garner building in Prentiss. JDC economic development director Gary Bass was at the meeting. “Gary introduced himself to us at the meeting, and the rest is history.”

“We haven’t had an economic boom in this county since oil and gas in the 70s and 80s,” said Bass. “We have had our death and burial, it is time for the resurrection.”

In a partnership with the Mississippi Industrial Hemp Association, Leaf River Extraction will offer programming and space for educational events to take place and aid in the facilitation of that effort.

LRE will continue to grow its own crop of hemp and produce its own line of hemp/CBD products. It will outfit new hemp farmers with all the knowledge and equipment needed to grow successful crops and will also buy hemp from local licensed growers, following USDA guidelines, process that hemp and pay the farmers for the product they produced.

LRE has an existing customer base market and will be continuing to expand that market base as the industry grows. It will capitalize on the fact that this product is locally grown, processed and in the marketplace to be as fresh and high quality/potency.

LRE will house under one roof in Prentiss:

  • Dispensary selling an LRE line of CBD and hemp products
  • Sales center selling lights, plants, soil and seeds
  • Educational Center run by the Mississippi Industrial Hemp Association
  • Indoor Grow Rooms
  • Processing Rooms
  • Shipping & Receiving Services
  • Marketing & Sales Office

In Phase 1, LRE will set up a growing area, sales area, educational area and retail dispensary. LRE will initially hire 12 full-time jobs: five security guards, two retail associates, one hemp center manager, two processors/trimmers and two farmers.

Sorenson will bring an investment of over $100,000 in merchandise, fixtures, lighting systems, grow rooms, seeds, soil and plants to Jefferson Davis County in Phase 1, as well as a wealth of experience. Within several months, 20 additional jobs will be added, including marketing office associates, floor supervisors, sales associates, farmers, trimmers, and ancillary staff.

LRE will work with Mississippi Industrial Hemp Association to build new hemp markets and serve as a small industry incubator developing markets and factories for hemp products like hempcrete bricks, hemp rope and fabric.

The goal is for LRE to become the leading hemp producer in the South and for Prentiss to become the Hemp Hub of the South providing revenue build Jefferson Davis County.

“In the retail space in Prentiss, we will have everything the farmer will need to grow. It’s a one stop shop type of thing.” It will also be a dispensary and farm supply store as well.

“We will have seedlings, seeds and clones. Whatever stage the grower is comfortable starting in, that is where they can start.”

“The farmer will grow it and bring it back to us to process it for them. How they want it processed depends on what they are growing it for.”

After it is processed, the grower can get it back or sell directly to LRE.

Clothing, shoes, wood products, flooring products, mini blinds and  hempcrete are all examples of what can be manufactured out of hemp.

“Anything you can make out of fiberglass can be made out of hemp. Take insulation for example, insulation made of hemp is pest resistant and fire retardant. It is also non-toxic.”

The MIHA will provide the educational aspects to the growers.  “We will have podcasts, online videos and we will offer classes through the association.”

Members of the association will also receive free testing of their product.

“The Lord has sent us here,” said Eric Sorenson. “The Lord set up all these paths for us. That building could not be more perfect for us.”

“Every time we tried to do something, we hit roadblock after roadblock,” said Melanie Sorenson. “We just kept saying, ‘Good Lord, where are we going to go?'”

Apparently, it is Jefferson Davis County.