Carmel hemp firm moving to Lebanon with five-year, $6.6M expansion plan

A multifaceted Carmel-based firm that develops, sells and tests hemp products is planning to relocate its headquarters and operations to a property it has purchased in Lebanon as part of a planned five-year, $6.6 million expansion.

Brian Schroeder and his son, Austin, founded Agrozen Life Sciences in 2018 after spending several years studying the hemp market and the plant’s medicinal qualities. In its early days, Agrozen focused on researching optimal strains of hemp for cultivation, harvest and extraction of cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD oil, which is known for dietary and other health benefits.

In addition to selling products such as CBD oils, tinctures, creams and gummies, Agrozen recently diversified into testing hemp crops and products to ensure they meet legal limits for levels of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannibaninol (THC). The firm maintains a 1,600-square-foot lab and office space at 1052 Summit Drive in Carmel, as well as a 2,200-square-foot research and development cultivation center nearby.

In the first half of this year, Agrozen plans to move to a four-acre property it purchased for $750,000 in late November at 417 Ransdell Road, near the southeast corner of Interstate 65 and State Road 32.

The property includes a 10,000-square-foot building that initially will house Agrozen’s administration, testing and retail operations, as well as plant cultivation and extraction of CBD oil.

Brian Schroeder told IBJ this week that the firm has much larger plans for the property, including building three 20,000-square-foot cultivation facilities for growing hemp plants.

Also taking into account plans to grow its product line, set up a retail education center and expand lab testing capacity, Schroeder estimated that the firm would invest about $6.6 million over five years. He also expected the company to grow from its current roster of four employees—including the founders—to more than 20 over that time.

“Agrozen’s mission is to research, develop, and distribute high-quality products and services that serve the natural plant-based industry,” said Schroeder, the firm’s CEO. “With close proximity to Indianapolis and Purdue University, Lebanon is a great fit as we expand our research and development operations.”

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture certified Agrozen as an analytical hemp testing laboratory—a distinction shared by only a few dozen other facilities in the nation.

Hemp production in Indiana is licensed to some 280 growers who farm more than 8,900 acres of the crop. Farmers are required to have hemp crops tested before harvest, which has opened up a revenue stream for Agrozen. Schroeder noted that the firm also has been receiving products for testing from outside the state.

Boone and Hamilton counties have become hubs for the state’s hemp industry, after the federal government lifted a 50-year prohibition on low-THC varieties of the plant in 2018. State legislation paved the way for the licensure of Indiana growers.

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