Baker County Development Commission Announces a Public Private Partnership with Plant Agricultural Systems Creating Over 600 Jobs and Investing $750M into the Baker County Economy
BAKER COUNTY, FLORIDA (July 19, 2023) – The Baker County Development Commission announced today that a Public Private Partnership with Plant Agricultural Systems (PLANT-AS) is moving forward in Baker County, FL. On April 4, the Board of County Commissioners approved an inducement and development agreement with the company.
Plant Agricultural Systems is an infrastructure service provider delivering both the physical and digital infrastructure necessary to support localized fresh produce demand in all regions of the world. The company’s vision is to dynamically enable society’s transition to more sustainable methods of food production, distribution, and consumption. PLANT-AS will develop nearly 2,000 acres of advanced Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) production as a part of its phase one domestic operations roll out, including a previously announced 1,100 acres in West Texas.
“This innovative project is an incredible win for Baker County and we thank Plant Agricultural Systems for bringing their investment and leading-edge technology to our region,” said Aundra Wallace, president of JAXUSA Partnership, the seven-county regional economic development organization for Northeast Florida. “We look forward to working with the company and to the significant economic growth these 600 jobs will bring to Baker County.”
PLANT-AS’ North Florida site, located in Sanderson, includes the development of 8.1M square feet of advanced CEA production facilities on 772 acres near US 90 & Interstate 10, where fresh produce, including, but not limited to, leafy greens and vine crops such as tomatoes, will be produced using state-of-the-art hydroponic technology. The company will be deploying a projected $750M in capital expenditure for the project, which will scale up operations over 8 years to hire over 600 full-time employees with starting wages, including benefits, of $21/hour. Additionally, the state supported the development of the Woodstock Industrial property, where this project will be located, with a $2.29M grant which funded the entrance road infrastructure.
“Plant Agricultural Systems’ Controlled Environment Agriculture Distributed Network Production Facility in Baker County will be transformational for our county. The capital investment, employee wages and benefits and overall economic impact will certainly bring about the most positive growth that a rural county can ever experience,” said Darryl Register, Executive Director of the Baker County Development Commission & the Baker County Chamber of Commerce.
The PLANT-AS Distributed Network Production Site (DNPS) model spans multiple U.S. and International markets, including a planned North American build-out of 3,000+ acres of advanced CEA facilities in a multi-year roll-out, making its domestic footprint greater than the sum of all land currently dedicated to CEA in the US.
This expansion accelerates the company’s DNPS delivery and enables the company to support domestic demand at a never-before-seen scale for CEA. In line with the company’s prioritization of renewable energy as a key component of its Carbon Transition Infrastructure, solar, which is readily available in the region, will be utilized in the delivery of these facilities. The combined net negative environmental impact of such a power model, along with the advanced production process that uses 70-90% less water than conventional agriculture, is a landmark advancement in resource management for the region and sets a new standard for the industry.
PLANT-AS’ advanced production facilities are modern data centers where Production Technicians will be supported by artificial intelligence processing the widest array of crop-cycle data ever available. The data collected and processed via IBM’s blockchain-supported system is the foundation of a digital infrastructure model that will transform the global food supply chain, empowering decision making and operations for all participants.
“The end-to-end impact PLANT-AS will have on existing food systems begins with the agricultural process and extends all the way through the consumer experience,” said Plant Director of Global Brand Representation, Sara Gaul. “We are thrilled to be a part of the economic growth in North Florida. Together, we are building infrastructure for the future, and people are at the core of everything.”
The Baker County Development Commission anticipates operations to commence approximately 24 months after the closing on the property.
ABOUT BAKER COUNTY DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION: The Baker County Development Commission was created by the Florida Legislature for the purpose of developing and promoting the public good and the welfare of Baker County. It operates with two main goals: To encourage growth in the County’s tax base and to support the creation of high wage jobs for County residents.
ABOUT PLANT-AS: Plant is using data to enable the global transition to more sustainable methods of food production, distribution, and consumption.
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