By Don Benjamin
Steve Herron is a visionary and part of this energetic Routt County entrepreneur’s plan may yet have a noticeable impact on the city and county of Delta. But for now, Herron’s original plan to open a hemp processing facility in Delta by next autumn are on hold.
The economic effects of COVID-19 have altered Herron’s original plan to establish a state-of-the-art hemp extraction facility in Delta. Herron serves as chief executive officer of Natural Path Botanicals with offices in Steamboat Springs and a hemp-processing operation in nearby Hayden. His plans to open a complementary facility in Delta will have to wait.
Even prior to the virus derailing plans, the economic viability of hemp farming and associated processing facilities was in flux. Now everything must be viewed through a wait-and-see lens.
In an earlier interview with the DCI, Herron was cautiously optimistic that his plans to set up a commercial enterprise in Delta would be in place this autumn. Even in that Nov. 13 DCI article, though Herron was optimistic about establishing the Delta facility, he cautioned that things could change.
“We always want to be mindful to never promise,” he said. “There could still be surprises in this new industry.”
Any downturn in the market could have delayed or changed Natural Path’s expansion plans, but, in this case, COVID-19 was the source of that theorized surprise.
Reached by email, Herron was philosophical about the future.
“We have many projects on hold,” he wrote. “COVID-19 and the associated economic downturn has created an extremely difficult set of circumstances for our business. We currently have our Hayden facility idled. As we work through the existing inventory of products, we will continuously monitor the market conditions and return to full-scale operations when there is sufficient demand.”
If and when the facility is operational, it might bring as many as twenty well-paying jobs to Delta County, but for now Natural Path Botanicals’ plans are on indefinite hold.