BOYKINS, Va. (WAVY) – A new company is hoping to help bring “green” to a struggling Southampton County economy.

“It’s a great town and it’s full of great people,” said James Lee, talking about the town of Boykin.

Nestled in this great town with great people is a factory.

“It’s been a wild ride,” Lee added. “This is a hemp production facility, essentially.”

Lee is the owner of Bon Bon Farms. He just planted his operation in the town of Boykins.

“My life has been around this plant,” he said.

Now, he’s literally surrounded by hemp — and licensed to grow in Virginia.

“This industry only became legal a year ago this month, and so the industry has had to develop in the last 12 months,” Lee added.

The plants look like marijuana plants, from the outside.

“It’s identical,” Lee said.

Lee’s hemp contains little to no THC. His plants will be supplied to farmers throughout the state and will produce CBD oil. CBD oil is currently being sold as a popular natural remedy for many common ailments.

“It’s the first crop of our generation and of our lifetime,” Lee added.

Those crops can be in every part of the 230,000-square-foot facility, which used to be a seat belt manufacturing plant.  

Just like the plants he is growing, Lee wants to grow the community.

“I really want to use this opportunity to revitalize the town,” he said.

He plans to invest $8.5 million in this budding operation, bringing 162 new jobs.

“We are looking for people that are dedicated, and that want to work and make an honest salary,” Lee added.

What Lee is doing is providing some economic light in an area that has seen dark days.

“We have the opportunity to take an entirely new industry and create a centralized hub right there in Boykins and Southampton County,” Lee said.