Minnesota-based Bushel Boy Farms is expanding its commitment to meeting Midwest demand for local, high-quality fresh produce as it broke ground on a new 20 hectare / 50-acre facility in Mason City, Iowa on September 11. The $35 million investment in the new facility will increase current production by 50% and is expected to bring approximately 50 full-time jobs to the city. Tomatoes will be the initial crop.
VB Greenhouse Projects from the Netherlands has been recently awarded the contract for this modern greenhouse complex to be built in Northern Iowa. The groundbreaking commences phase one of a threephase project and entails development of a 6.8 hectare / 16.5-acre high-tech greenhouse with a modern packhouse and technical installations building. The foundation works are to commence immediately. The project is scheduled for completion in October of 2020, with the first harvest expected in December of that year.
The Iowa expansion does not affect Bushel Boy’s continued commitment to its Owatonna, Minnesota operations, as construction is currently underway on a 1.8 hectares / 4.5-acre research and development greenhouse also built by VB Greenhouse Projects. This state-of-the-art expansion will both increase production at its flagship facility and increase the variety of tomato offered. The construction phase of this R&D project is already set for completion in December 2019 with production starting in early 2020.
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Once both projects are complete, Bushel Boy will have 48 acres of greenhouse space, with infrastructure in place for 33 more acres. These projects will provide the company an enhanced ability to offer a wide variety of locally grown, premium fresh produce to the upper Midwest.
“These expansions will not only allow us to serve our existing customer base but will provide us the opportunity to seek new business relationships and expand existing partnerships with retailers, wholesalers and food service distributors,” said Steve Irland, President of Bushel Boy Farms. “We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from the city of Mason City and its government officials, as well as support at the county and state level and with the North Iowa Corridor EDC.”
“We are extremely proud to have been selected for this exciting large scale greenhouse project in the Northern region of Iowa,” said Edward Verbakel, CEO of VB Group. “With a number of projects currently under construction in other parts of the US this is going to be our first complete greenhouse in the State of Iowa. Our company has been building for Bushel Boy Farms ever since 2007 and we are excited to move forward and continue our longtime business relationship.”
The new facility marks a period of rapid expansion for Bushel Boy, which was acquired by Shakopee-based Rahr Corporation in November 2018.
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