AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo City Council voted to unanimously approve two agenda items promoting economic development and job creation.
The first item was a location incentive agreement between Amarillo economic development corporation and Plant-AS-DNPS-003-2 LC.
The second item is a Tax abatement agreement between the City of Amarillo and Amarillo Economic Development Corporation and SW 003 Distribution Logistics LLC.
Under the agreement, AEDC will provide $3,750,000 for the creation of 750 new jobs, over the course of several years as they are created, as well as convey 400 acres near Folsom Road and 24th street.
The jobs will be part of the new plant company, that said it focuses on producing crops in a sustainable manner. The minimum job salary is $45,000.
“Amarillo offers us the size of land that’s required for our operation, you have an engaged workforce that we will be able to staff over, you know, we’re projecting over 700 jobs in the next seven years,” said Sara Gaul, Director of Global Representation at Plant Agricultural systems. “So that’s really, important that there’s a population of people who are willing and able to come to work here in Amarillo.”
The company said it will have ten greenhouse facilities on 400 acres of land. Amarillo’s climate and location made the city a desirable location for Plant’s future plans.
Agriculture in the area is part of Amarillo’s economic success, but AEDC and the city of Amarillo are looking to diversify the economy.
“Although this is ag based, it’s a different kind of ag base with the technology behind it,” said Kevin Carter President and CEO of Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. “I think it’s just it’s the next wave of agriculture in our area and agriculture is certainly part of our base and has been forever and probably will continue to be forever and we certainly embrace the adaptations and the new technology involved in that field.”
Jobs at the new Plant Green House facility will range from production technicians, to logistics, distribution and transportation. Gaul shared that the company is willing to invest in its employees.
“If you can work your iPhone, you can work a job as a Production Technician,” explained Gaul. “It’s also temperature controlled, so you’re not out fighting the elements every day. We also look at this as a long-term career path.”
Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson shared that one of the city council’s job responsibilities is to make the city more desirable and help encourage and promote economic development. Creating more jobs to keep up with population growth is one way to make the city desirable.
“We have to get in front of that by investing in our infrastructure, by increasing the things that we have as far as quality of life here in the city so that it will attract people to move here live here be part of our workforce,” said Nelson. “It’s one thing to get these jobs, but then we have to have the people who are ready, present and educated to work them also.”
Before Plant can move forward in the process of bringing a facility to Amarillo they must receive approval from two higher entities.
Carter hopes they will have a decision on final approval within the next 90 days.
The greenhouse facilities would primarily produce leafy greens and tomatoes, according to Gaul. The production would reduce water use and put environmental impacts as their focus while empowering consumers.
Gaul continued, “traditional agriculture is very important, and family run farms are very important but in order for us to be able to sustain the needs that we have within this country, we need to be able to develop and grow produce at scale. So, we’re looking at it as we’re all in it together, not as us versus them or greenhouse versus traditional AG.”
“It’s supplemental to what already exists and it’s to give the American consumers what they deserve, said Gaul. “That’s fresh, quality, nutritious produce that’s grown here in our country.”
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