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Organic Manufacturer Pumps $10.9 Million in North Carolina Facility

BIOPHIL Natural Fibers, a manufacturer of organic raw materials, will invest more than $10.9 million in a new processing operation in Lumberton, N.C., creating 41 new jobs, Gov. Roy Cooper announced this week.

Founded in 2019, BIOPHIL processes hemp stalk to produce fiber and hurd as a sustainable alternative to petroleum plastic, concrete, tree wood for construction materials, fiberglass, tree pulp for paper and packaging products, synthetic fibers for woven and nonwoven textiles, industrial absorbents and other raw materials that are either nonrenewable, non-biodegradable or otherwise harmful to the environment.

BIOPHIL currently operates a processing facility in Pennsylvania and will add a 90,829-square-foot building in Lumberton to expand its production operations with decortication, which refers to the initial separation of hemp stalk into hurd and fiber, and parallel processing lines that will clean, refine and cut hurd and fiber to clients specifications.

The new facility will also include research and development for mycelium load-bearing structural composites by Okom Wrks Labs, as well as prototype development and eventually manufacturing for hurd construction materials and other hemp-based products.

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“We are very excited to work in North Carolina,” said Marcel Dabdoub, CEO of BIOPHIL Natural Fibers. “We enjoyed working with local and regional businesses in Lumberton and surrounding areas during our diligence process, as well as our farmers throughout North Carolina over the past two grow seasons, and we look forward to expanding these relationships.”

Cooper said North Carolina offers BioPhil an economy deeply rooted in agriculture and manufacturing.

“BIOPHIL is joining North Carolina’s large supply chain for textiles and nonwoven manufacturing,” said state Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Together, our unique research partnerships and networks help support North Carolina in achieving top rankings for businesses across all industries.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce led a team of partners in supporting BIOPHIL’s location to North Carolina. The new positions include production, administrative and managerial staff, which will have a combined average annual salary of $40,122. Once filled, the new jobs have the potential to create an annual payroll impact of more than $1.6 million, the governor’s office noted.

A performance-based grant of $125,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help with BIOPHIL’S expansion. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require matching participation from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

Joining the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina were key partners in the project that included the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, Robeson Community College, Robeson County, North Carolina’s Southeast, Robeson County Committee of 100, Robeson County Office of Economic Development and the City of Lumberton.