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North Florida Economic Development Partnership

Baker County Selected for Rural Deal of the Year



Baker County Selected for Rural Deal of the Year


APRIL 23, 2024



Darryl Register

(904) 226-4780



Tallahassee, Florida - Baker County’s Plant Agricultural Systems (AS) project was selected as the Rural Deal of the Year by the Florida Economic Development Council at its 2024 Annual Conference held April 15-17, 2024, held at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Plant AS will build 8.9 million square feet of Hydroponic growing facilities on 772 acres in Western Baker County. The facilities will only be used to produce food—primarily tomatoes and lettuce. The project will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced food production facilities and will include approximately 3 million square feet dedicated as a UF/IFAS research facility.

The projected economic impact of Plant AS over the first 10 years includes approximately 697 new, direct high-wage jobs and approximately 110 indirect jobs. The project is anticipated to generate $743 million dollars in private capital investment, local school district revenue of $22 million, and local hospital authority revenue of $2.8 million. Baker County is implementing a “REV” grant for the company for the first ten years of the project and is expected to generate a net revenue for the county of $34 million after the “REV” grant is paid out over the initial ten years of the project. Economic impact models project over $319 million in County GDP and disposable income in the County will increase over $247.5 million in the initial decade of the project.

Baker County Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darryl Register commented “PLANT-AS choosing to locate in Baker County matches perfectly with our economic development goals of helping to foster growth of the county taxbase and the creation of high wage jobs, while also protecting our natural resources, by creating an environment where companies will want to be located.” Register also noted “the first of a kind technology that will be used in this facility and future PLANT-AS facilities will set the standard for the amount of information that is readily available to the public about their fresh food supply.”

FEDC’s Rural Deal of the Year recognizes outstanding achievement in the location/expansion of business in the State of Florida that meets community economic development goals and involves significant community program support, such as financial or permitting assistance, workforce development, state financial support, etc.

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