WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Another extension of time was unanimously approved by the City Council on Tuesday morning, November 11, 2023, for the Panda Hemp Plant to meet job creation goals, and councilors also added money to the deal it first made in 2020.
The latest extension moved the deadline back to August 2026.
The incentive package requires the creation of at least 50 jobs in the former Delphi building Panda bought on I-44.
Repayment of a $1 million loan to the company in February 2021 for buying and refurbishing the plant into industrial hemp processing was extended to December 2021, then December 2023.
On Tuesday, city councilors approved adding that loan when repaid to the job incentive payment for a total of $2.6 million.
City councilors also approved adding a $200,000 payment to the company for improvement to the railroad spur to the plant for a total of $350,000.
Originally, Panda set early 2021 to begin operations, but the date has been pushed back several times.
Panda President Dixie Carter said despite taking longer than expected, the project will be well worth the investment.
“We have brought this project — it is not a small project. There are very few like it even close to it in the world,” Carter said. “We’ve put the finest equipment available together in ways never put together before. It will be quite a sight to see, and Wichita Falls will be the epicenter, we believe, the true global epicenter for industrialized hemp.”
Panda had originally planned to build the plant near Lubbock but that plan collapsed in 2020.