2019-06-12 wcat-mckinney speaks

Businessman Mark McKinney talks about all the possible uses of hemp and how Wagoner hopes to become one of the biggest processing plants in the state soon during a speech before the Executives of Tulsa on June 7.

JOHN FERGUSON/AMERICAN-TRIBUNE

TULSA – Mark McKinney gave the Executives of Tulsa businessmen’s club plenty of food for thought during the group’s monthly breakfast at the Southern Hills Marriott on Friday, June 7.

McKinney is helping to revitalize downtown Wagoner with a hemp processing plant in a formerly abandoned South Main Street building.

McKinney not only announced how to process, purify and distribute all parts of the hemp plant, but also will use another 59 acres south of 15th street for more growth.

“We signed last night,” McKinney said of the agreement with the Wagoner Economic Development Authority to develop land near 15th Street.

On top of that announcement, Connors State College has authorized 10 acres of that property to grow hemp and explore its uses.

McKinney told businessmen that other well known businesses will join the 15th Street area to use the hemp products his company will process.

McKinney said the entire mix of growing and processing will see a multi-million industry explode in Wagoner.

“We have been accepted into a state hemp pilot program,” McKinney said of how things are moving forward. “It (hemp oil) is just good for you.”

Hemp has been used in cosmetics, plastics, textiles, rope and in some specialized cereals among other uses.

“There’s 200,000 acres of farm land in Wagoner County,” McKinney added. “If we could do 20,000 acres of crop that would equal $9 billion. Potentially, we could get one crop in and maybe two (depending on the weather).”

One thing McKinney stressed that the hemp oil he plans to derive will be pure.

The idea is already working in California where McKinney got a similar project off the ground. The former Poteau native wants to do the same in Wagoner and revitalize the area.