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Casey Houweling's explains why he breaks ground in Utah:

New Houweling's greenhouse demonstrates sustainable technology partnership

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and Houweling’s Tomatoes announced that the company will build a new, environmentally friendly greenhouse tomato farm in Juab County that will create more than 280 new jobs. The Utah facility will employ state of the art climate control and sustainability technology. It will be heated with waste heat from a nearby natural gas fired electrical generation facility, enabling Houweling to operate with a very low carbon footprint. Additionally, the facility will utilize waste CO2 off the generators stack to provide CO2 fertilization to tomato crops. PacifiCorp Energy is the owner/operator of the Currant Creek Power Plant, and Rocky Mountain Power will be supplying the electricity for Houweling’s operations.

 “Houweling’s Tomatoes will positively impact the rural community of Juab County through its expansion and green practices,” said Spencer P. Eccles, executive director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “It is encouraging to see a company come to Utah that is innovating and implementing eco-friendly operations.”

Some quick facts on the new operations in Utah:
  • Initial Phase will produce over 27 million lbs annually of fresh market tomatoes, 46% of the Utah market and 10% of the fresh tomato market within a 500 mile radius.
  • 95% of site heat needs will be redirected from the exhaust stack of the Currant Creak Power Plant
  • 100% of CO2 required for plant fertilization will be captured from the Currant Creek Power Plant  in lieu of trucking and storing liquid CO2
  • 5-10% of annual irrigation water will be supplied through condensation within the Power Plant stacks
  • Irrigation water not taken-up by plants is recirculated, reducing water and fertilizer usage by 50%
  • Current freight rates into Utah and the surrounding states are very expensive due to empty trailers on return routes. By growing in Utah, freight to retail will be significantly reduced, while rates to send product outside the state will be reasonable as transport companies would otherwise return empty.
  • 280 new jobs created
  • 28.3 acres of annual crop yield is equivalent to over 900 field acres
  • Planned full build out of 113.2 acres of annual crop yield is equivalent to over 3600 field acres.

The creation of the Utah facility will lead to $18,160,900 in new state taxes and $267,891,773 in new state wages. The more than 280 jobs that will be created with this expansion will pay at least 100 percent of the Juab County wage. Each position will include company contributed health insurance.

“Houweling’s Tomatoes new state of the art facility for growing tomatoes, its strong workforce and innovative method of lowering the carbon footprint within Juab County is exhilarating to the County’s vibrant business community,” stated Rick Carlton, Juab County Commissioner.  “GOED, Houweling and Juab County’s hard work over the last year to bring this innovative farm to Juab County demonstrates impressive proof communities and businesses can have both economic success and environmental sustainability.”

The announced project will require $79 million in capital investment and will be carried out in two phases. The first phase, comprised of 28.3 acres, is projected to realize annual farm gate sales of approximately $23.3 million.

“My passion is growing fresh, great tasting tomatoes. I am excited at the opportunity to bring this to the people of Utah. Our farm will not only offer great employment opportunities in Juab County, it will ensure that the people of Utah can enjoy locally grown, fresh, delicious tomatoes 365 days a year,” says Casey Houweling, president and CEO of the company that bears his family namesake.

Mr. Houweling went on to note, “I would also like to express our sincere appreciation to PacifiCorp Energy and Rocky Mountain Power for their patience, persistence and can-do spirit in helping us move this project along over the last two years. As far as we are aware, this is the first commercial scale operation in the world that will pull both heat and CO2 directly from a power provider.”

“PacifiCorp and Rocky Mountain Power have also found the collaboration rewarding,” says Mickey Beaver, Economic Development Manager.  “The project will demonstrate a sustainable technology partnership and environmentally friendly utilization of land, water, waste heat and CO2 to diversify the economy, create jobs and grow exceptional tomatoes. Everyone wins.”

“Utah’s food and agriculture sector, which employs nearly 12,000 people in the state, is incredibly diverse. Houweling’s innovative and sustainable approach to food production adds a unique component to the industry,” said Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. “We are absolutely thrilled that Houwelings has chosen Utah for their expansion.”

As part of a contract with Houweling’s Tomatoes, the GOED Board of Directors has approved a maximum cap tax credit of $4,648,270 in the form of a post-performance Economic Development Tax Increment Finance (EDTIF) incentive, which is 25.6 percent of the net taxes Houweling’s Utah operation will pay over the 20-year life of the agreement. Each year as Houweling’s meet the criteria in its contract with the state, it will earn a portion of the tax credit incentive.

Those interested in working for the company can apply online by going to http://www.houwelings.com/ and clicking on “work with us” under the “about us” tab.

Publication date: 3/24/2014


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