SKANEATELES, NY – Joshua Allyn, the great-grandson of Welch Allyn company founder William Noah Allyn, has returned to his hometown of Skaneateles after 20 years to start a hemp farm.

Allyn, 39, recently purchased 57 acres including a home at 4272 Jordan Road in Skaneateles for $810,000, according to county records.

He has established a business, Tap Root Fields (also known as Tap Root Operations) and plans to farm about 50 acres, he said in an interview with | The Post-Standard.

The property is behind the medical equipment maker, formerly Welch Allyn and now owned by Hill-Rom. Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. bought the company for $2.05 billion in 2015, ending the Allyn family’s 100-year ownership of the firm.

Josh Allyn, 39, is the of son of Lew and Dawn Allyn, and a director on the Allyn Foundation board. After graduating from Skaneateles High School and Saint Michaels College in Colchester, Vt., he moved to Colorado.

In Colorado, Josh Allyn said he worked as a builder of homes and restaurants, and also worked on the side in the recreational and medical marijuana industries. While home for a holiday visit, he met Timree Brown, a nurse, and decided to move back to Skaneateles and start an industrial hemp-growing endeavor.

The couple are moving into the home on the property, and Allyn has hired about five people to help him get his operation started. He plans to start with about 10 acres of organic industrial hemp this year, which will be his “showcase” operation, he said. He’ll add more workers as he expands, he said.

“Farming is something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

Next year, he hopes to expand his operation to plant nearly 250 acres of industrial hemp at sites in Marcellus and around Skaneateles Lake.

Industrial hemp is cultivated for fiber, seed and other purposes.

One extract from the female plant is Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a dietary supplement that’s all the craze right now. CBD can be found in everything from pills to soaps to wine and beer.

Tap Root will sell its hemp to a processor, who will extract the CBD oil.

Hemp is a member of the cannabis sativa family that also includes marijuana. But industrial hemp is very low in active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Federal and state law requires that the concentration of THC must be less than 0.3% in industrial hemp. That differentiates it from marijuana. You cannot get high from hemp.

Hemp was once illegal to grow in the United States, but has been recently legalized.

Eventually, Josh Allyn said he plans to apply to be a CBD processor, with a goal of vertical integration for the business. That’s a company that controls every stage of production, from growing and processing to distributing.

Hemp also can be used to help filter toxic chemicals out of polluted soil, absorbing pollutants and heavy metals through its roots and storing them, he said. In Italy, this phytoremediation was used on a farm to help decontaminate polluted soils, according to a CBS News report.

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