Plenty received a $20 million grant from the State of Wyoming through the Wyoming Business Council to the City of Laramie to help with construction and infrastructure costs for their new R&D Center in Laramie, Wyoming. Additional funding, land, and support for the project are being provided by the City of Laramie and the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance (LCBA).
After seeking $20 million in funding to build an R&D center in Laramie, Wyoming, ever since September 2022, Plenty has finally received investment from the State of Wyoming.
Plenty's new research center is projected to be a more than 60,000-square-foot facility built on 16 acres of land in the Cirrus Sky Technology park in Laramie, which was contributed to the project by the LCBA. The new facility will double Plenty's research space compared to the Laramie facility it has occupied since 2016, diversify its research environments, and support the transition of new crops to commercial farms by incorporating areas that more closely mirror Plenty farm environments.
"Creating this new center of excellence greatly expands Plenty's ability to transform indoor agriculture," said Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai. "We've already built one of the top indoor farming research ecosystems in the world in Wyoming. Our new facility will expand our capability to grow the widest variety of crops, which is key to unlocking the potential of this category and addresses a major limitation for the industry today. This continued commitment to innovation is what's needed to push indoor farming forward and make fresh food accessible to everyone."
"Wyoming is proud to invest in the continued success of a business that was first innovated right here in the state," said Governor Mark Gordon. "The level at which Plenty will be operating in this new facility will truly advance Wyoming's preeminence as a global center of indoor agricultural research. This center gives us a tremendous opportunity to promote a state-of-the-art R&D cluster and further diversify our state's economy."
What will it bring to Laramie?
"This new research center will give talent from Plenty's backyard at the University of Wyoming and around the world the opportunity to be at the forefront of advancing plant science," the company said.
Plenty will add 125 jobs at the new facility over the next six years across a range of fields, including science, research, engineering, and data analysis. Through collaborations with universities, startups, vendors, and more, Plenty plans to catalyze further development of the Wyoming indoor farming research ecosystem.
"Our research and development has already driven Plenty to achieve industry-leading yields in our core crops of leafy greens, strawberries and tomatoes. With this new, state-of-the-art facility, we will accelerate our pipeline, further increasing yields and bringing more diverse crops to market sooner," said Dr. Nate Storey, Plenty co-founder and Chief Science Officer.
"As a Wyoming native who has devoted his career to advancing plant science here, I'm proud to be a part of helping the State play a leading role in advancing a new field."
"We need to diversify domestic agricultural production to increase the stability of the national food supply chain and ultimately to increase food security," said Doug Miyamoto, Director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).
"Wyoming is proud to support the critical work Plenty is doing here that will accelerate our understanding of the potential of indoor agriculture to contribute to better food security and more opportunities for local production of food."
Following this morning's grant approval, the project will shift into the design phase, with plans to begin construction later this year and open the facility in early 2025. Plenty's team and research work will transfer to the new facility from its current Laramie location once it's completed.
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