Governor Brian P. Kemp announced in a statement that the leading indoor vertical farming company, 80 Acres Farms, was expanding to Newton County, investing USD 120 million and creating 150 new jobs within the County to meet growing consumer demand for local, fresh produce.
“We are excited to welcome 80 Acres Farms to Georgia as we continue finding new, exciting ways to support and grow our state’s No. 1 agriculture industry,” said Governor Kemp. “I look forward to seeing the difference that 80 Acres Farms will make in Covington, Georgia as they employ hardworking Georgians and pour into the local community and surrounding region.”
The facility currently under construction is expected to be completed in August and its produce to be distributed to retailers by early 2023. When fully operational, it will generate four times as much food as the company’s current largest and most productive farm, in Hamilton, Ohio. It will be capable of growing leafy greens, microgreens, vine crops, and fruits year-round. As the farm’s opening date approaches, the company will be hiring across a variety of roles, from hourly growing and harvesting jobs to salaried management positions to support functions in finance, sales, and more.
“It’s no coincidence that our first next-generation production farm outside the Midwest will be in the heart of Georgia,” said 80 Acres Farms CEO Mike Zelkind. “We went looking for another community where government officials and business leaders were prioritizing the future of farming, and we found that in Covington, Georgia. This new farm allows us to give consumers in the Atlanta region what they truly want—fresh, local, pesticide-free food.”
“The City of Covington continues to be at the forefront for business success, and we are honored to partner with 80 Acres Farms, another environmentally sustainable business joining our community,” said Mayor Steve Horton of the City of Covington. “Many thanks to our development authority, NOW Covington.”
80 Acres Farms operates super-efficient vertical farms that can produce up to 300 times as much food per square foot as traditional farms, using 95 percent less water per pound of produce and minimizing food miles and waste. Currently, 80 Acres Farms operates eight farms in the United States, built by the company’s technology group, Infinite Acres.
Senior Project Manager Kristen Miller represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce team on this competitive project in partnership with the City of Covington and NOW Covington.
“80 Acres Farms is an exciting and innovative addition to Georgia’s agriculture community, which embraces sustainable farming solutions that push the industry forward,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Vertical farming technology uses cutting-edge techniques to better manage land and resources, increase crop yields, and reliably produce a diverse selection of crops year-round. Georgia’s rich farming history, our innovative AgTech ecosystem, and our strategic geographic location ensures 80 Acres Farms will find all the support it needs to flourish in Georgia.”
A strategic arm of GDEcD, the Georgia Center of Innovation is cultivating an ecosystem of opportunities in Georgia to meet the demand for locally sourced fresh produce through its agricultural technology (AgTech) and energy specialists. The Center of Innovation helps Georgia’s businesses capitalize on opportunities and confront challenges in the state’s key industries. Agriculture has more than a $70 billion economic impact on Georgia, and AgTech, ranging from controlled environment agriculture and data science to farm drones, is identified by the GDEcD Global Commerce team and Center of Innovation as a strategic industry sector for Georgia.