-City Council approves $200,000 rebate to Iron Ox for utilities construction and tax incentives at its planned one million-square-foot facility -The project will bring jobs, broader business development to city -Iron Ox, an innovative farming company, expects to invest over $100M in the project
The City of Lockhart recently approved incentives for local expansion by Iron Ox, a farming innovation company with deep expertise in plant science, robotics and artificial intelligence. The incentives package includes a grant for utilities construction at the company's planned one million-square-foot facility on 85 acres on Commerce Street. The project will bring jobs, revenues and other benefits to the City.
"Iron Ox has already made a great impact in the City of Lockhart at their state-of-the-art facility on Reed Drive," said Lockhart Mayor Lew White. "Our City Council was pleased to offer these latest incentives so the company can move forward with its new million-square-foot facility on Commerce Street, which will create more job opportunities and enhance our community's business development."
By voting on November 16 to commit $200,000 toward the construction of water and wastewater utilities, the Lockhart City Council provided incentives for Iron Ox — which in April 2021, broke ground on a 535,000-square-foot facility on Reed Drive — to expand its footprint in the city. Those incentives also include the five-year City property tax rebate incentive to Iron Ox, once its expansion facility on South Commerce Street is finished and a certificate of occupancy has been granted. Texas consumers will begin finding Iron Ox produce in their local grocery stores in early 2022.
"Companies like Iron Ox are making a difference in small town local economies in Texas. That's why I'm so proud to have them as a GO TEXAN partner," exclaimed Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller. "Iron Ox has chosen to grow with Lockhart. As a result, our Texas agricultural economy will benefit from their expansion. To many, Bar-B-Q helped put Lockhart on the national stage. Now, thanks to Iron Ox, Lockhart can be known as a center for agricultural innovation, and a trend setter in the future of agriculture in both Texas and the nation."
Iron Ox's closed-loop proprietary system uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and hydroponics to make the agriculture sector more efficient and robust, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and other negative environmental impacts. Its technology produces a wide variety of crops, including herbs and lettuces, while using a small fraction of the land, water and energy compared to food grown on conventional farms.
"To meet the increased demand for nutritious and sustainable produce grown locally, we are committed to scaling our business to serve consumer needs," said Iron Ox CEO Brandon Alexander, who grew up picking cotton, potatoes and peanuts on his family's farm in Texas. "We are excited to explore the possibility of a second facility in the City of Lockhart as part of our long-term strategy and are beyond grateful to the Mayor and the City Council for helping make this a reality."
The Lockhart Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) is authorized to promote state and local economic development and to stimulate business and commercial activity within the City. The LEDC determined that substantial economic benefits, including bringing new primary jobs to the City, increasing the City's tax revenues and creating new local employment opportunities, will come from Iron Ox's successful development of the property.
To receive the rebate, Iron Ox must close on the land, construct the utilities and pay for them, and begin construction for the new facility, with an expected capital investment of $120 million. The Lockhart City Council felt that construction of the utilities will provide benefits beyond the facility, as that area within the community continues to experience growth requiring public services.
About Iron Ox
Based in California's Silicon Valley, Iron Ox is an agriculture technology startup with deep expertise in plant science, robotics and artificial intelligence. The company's mission is to make growing fresh produce carbon negative. Iron Ox has redesigned every step of the farming process, from seed to store shelf, achieving levels of precision that are impossible through conventional farming. Iron Ox produce is delicious, nutritious, sustainable, and local, greatly reducing food waste and reducing the footprint of farming. For more information, visit www.ironox.com.
About Lockhart Economic Development Corporation
The Lockhart Economic Development Corporation, a department within the City of Lockhart, is designed to provide a range of business and economic development assistance. To learn more about opportunities in Lockhart, visit www.lockhartedc.com.