The State of Wyoming issued a $20 million grant to Plenty Unlimited, Inc. to advance indoor agriculture research and development. It is the largest economic development grant in the state’s history. 

The new facility in the Cirrus Sky Technology Park in Laramie, Wyoming, will span over 60,000 square feet across 16 acres, doubling the company’s research space. The expansion aims to diversify research environments with an emphasis on supporting the transition of new crops to commercial farms that mirror the company’s regulated growing environments. 

"Plenty’s mission is to provide fresh food to everyone, everywhere,” Dr. Nate Storey, co-founder and chief science officer at Plenty, told Agri-Pulse. “At the heart of how we make progress toward that mission is our research and development.” 

Plenty has filed over 100 new patents for industry innovations in the last two years. Some projects include new tomato plant varieties, innovative ways to detect plant stress and advanced crop-growing systems. 

The new facility will expand the company’s ability to grow a wide assortment of crops with industry-leading yields, including leafy greens, strawberries and tomatoes. Over 1,400 cultivars have been grown in the system since the facility’s opening in 2016 with plans for future expansion. 

The company will “truly advance Wyoming’s preeminence as a global center of indoor agricultural research,” Mark Gordon, Governor of Wyoming, said in a statement. “This center gives us a tremendous opportunity to promote a state-of-the-art R&D cluster and further diversify our state’s economy.”

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A total of 100 engineers and 75 scientists are currently working at the Wyoming location. An additional 125 jobs at the forefront of plant science, research, engineering and data analytics are expected to be added within the next six years. 

The company has “big ambitions to change the future of food by making affordable fresh food accessible to everyone, everywhere,” Storey said. “This is just the beginning of Plenty's work to scale its impact by expanding its footprint, diversifying the crops it grows and teaming up with some of the biggest names in retail and produce.”

Vertical growing practices improve yields by 350 times while using a fraction of the land and water as traditional farming, according to Plenty. Local food systems can benefit by receiving regionally grown, pesticide-free produce. 

Plenty is also building the world’s largest and most advanced vertical indoor farm in Compton, California. They have also purchased land to build the largest vertical farm campus near Richmond, Virginia.

Construction will begin later this year. The new facility is expected to open in 2025. 

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