Hazle Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania -
Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday, in conjunction with CAN DO, announced that Crop One, an industry-leader in technology-driven indoor vertical farming, is opening a vertical farm in the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazle Township, bringing 40 new full-time managerial and farm production jobs to the region.
Gov. Wolf said Pennsylvania has a lot to offer to companies looking to set up shop here, such as our strategic Northeast U.S. location and skilled, committed workforce.
“The commonwealth’s competitive edge provided us with an advantage over other states for this expansion project, and I’m very pleased to welcome Crop One to Pennsylvania,” Wolf said.
According to information provided by the governor’s office, Crop One has negotiated a lease with PNK group to operate a commercial scale vertical indoor farming facility at 405 Stony Creek Road in Hazle Township. Crop One is also working closely with CAN DO on facilitating relationships with local businesses and organizations.
The 316,000-square-foot space will primarily grow romaine lettuce and spring mix, serving retailers, food service providers, and other partners located within close proximity to the facility, ensuring produce is packaged and on store shelves within 24 hours.
This project is Crop One’s third operation in the United States.
The company received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a loan of up to $3 million through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA); a $120,000 Pennsylvania First grant, and an $80,000 workforce development grant to train its new workers.
The company has committed to investing a total of $105 million into the project and creating at least 40 new full-time jobs within three years.
“As Crop One looked to expand into new geographies, Pennsylvania quickly emerged as a natural next step,” said Craig Ratajczyk, Chief Executive Officer at Crop One. “The state’s accessibility to a broad consumer base, paired with strong state support will make it easy for us to continue scaling our U.S. operations. We thank Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development for their support. We look forward to becoming an important part of the local Luzerne County community.”
This project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.
Through GAT, Gov. Wolf has invested nearly $18 billion over the past seven years to support 433 completed projects, create and retain more than 194,000 jobs for Pennsylvanians.
The company plans to work with the local business community and government/civic organizations to continue to provide economic development opportunities. DCED and Crop One worked closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and CAN DO, a Hazleton-based economic development organization, to bring the project to fruition.
“Controlled agriculture systems like Crop One help to diversify Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “These new job opportunities feed our economy and bring people with different abilities and skills to the table, putting climate-smart technology to work to feed consumer demand for fresh, local produce.”
Redding said as the projected worldwide population continues to grow, the agriculture industry must feed the world in new, innovative, and sustainable ways. Vertical and indoor farming are productive and sustainable solutions to feeding the future, he added.
“CAN DO is proud to add Crop One to the wide array of industries located within Humboldt Industrial Park,” said Joseph Lettiere, CAN DO president and CEO. “Given the state-of-the-art technology that will be integrated into the facility as well as the 40 family-sustaining jobs that will be created, this project will provide an immediate impact on our community. And, since Crop One will be developing a sustainable food source within a controlled environment, CAN DO will also be welcoming what can be considered the next generation of farming to Greater Hazleton.”
Lettiere said Crop One the strategic location allows Crop One to reach up to 50 million consumers within a 200-mile radius across the tristate and Mid-Atlantic areas, including customers in New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. The news comes as the company continues to see strong growth, following its announcement earlier this year about the opening of the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farm in Dubai, with an output of three tons per day.
“PNK Group is thrilled to help Crop One kick off its U.S. expansion with the provision of a more than 316,000-square-foot, high-quality, fully insulated by design, industrial warehouse project,” said Mark Stiles, U.S. Partner for PNK Group. “The building boasts forty-foot high clear ceilings to allow for an increased volume of production on a smaller footprint and better economy of scale. We wish Crop One continued success as they institute sustainable, environmentally friendly vertical farms around the U.S., create jobs, and expand the economy of the region.”