A new $750 million hydroponic farm in Baker County will grow fresh produce and create more than 600 jobs, county officials say.
The Baker County Development Commission announced Wednesday that a public-private partnership between the county and Plant Agricultural Systems is moving forward.
“This company is really a technology company that just happens to be growing food. It’s great to have the food production and the jobs, but the technology that’s involved is phenomenal,” said Darryl Register, executive director of the Baker County Chamber of Commerce and the Baker County Economic Development Commission. “And it’ll be first of its kind technology that will be utilized and seen by everyone. And we think it will change the way that our food is grown in America.”
According to a news release, Plant Agricultural Systems, based in Fort Lauderdale, provides physical and digital infrastructure to support localized fresh produce around the world.
“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,” said Sara Gaul, the company’s director of global brand representation.
The new facility will be near U.S. 90 and Interstate 10 in Sanderson, at the Woodstock Industrial Property. It includes the development of 8.1 million square feet of advanced production facilities on 772 acres.
Register said the facility is expected to create more than 600 jobs once it’s been in operation for 10 years. Starting wages will begin at $21 an hour with benefits.
The county provided $21 million in tax incentives for the project and waived fees associated with permits and construction, Register said.
“The economic impact, overall economic impact, is (that) it’ll be a game changer for Baker County,” he said.
Over the first 10 years of the facility, the Gross Domestic Product for the county is estimated to increase by more than $319 million and disposable income by more than $247 million, Register said.
Closing on the property is expected in mid to late October, and work at the site is expected to start shortly after that.