US: AgTech companies get a jump-start in Colorado’s Grand Valley

Last month, FHE, a manufacturer servicing the energy industry, joined Colorado’s Rural Jump-Start Tax Credit program, a performance-driven tax incentive that allows participants to operate free of many state and local taxes for up to eight years. In exchange, they form a mentoring partnership with a local institute of higher education and add high-value, high-paying jobs to the community.

The Jump-Start Tax Credit program was invented in Mesa County, aka Colorado’s Grand Valley, in early 2015 and launched statewide the following year. It is intended to spur job creation in Colorado’s more rural communities and more often than not, the companies that receive the credit operate in industries native to the land: agriculture, energy, outdoor recreation.

In fact, earlier this year, Violet Gro joined Jump-Start in Mesa County. The business is an off-shoot of Florida-based Violet Defense Group, Inc., and creates a patented LED technology that can be used in agriculture, particularly among indoor hemp growers. About the choice to locate the new division in Colorado, Terrance Berland, CEO of Violet Defense said, “We are very excited about the opportunity to expand our agricultural lighting business into Colorado, a state that is widely recognized for its entrepreneurial spirit and its leadership in the agricultural space. Being here offers us a plethora of partners and thought leaders to help shape not only the state and local economies, but also to influence the technological capabilities of agriculture globally.”

When Pierce Corporation, a manufacturer of irrigation systems, chose to move its operations from Idaho and Oregon to the Grand Valley, it was for a much simpler reason: the climate. Colorado’s Grand Valley is located in the basin of three mountain ranges that envelop the valley in a year-round temperate climate and has left it peacefully void of natural disasters. The land, part of Colorado’s “banana belt”, is also particularly fertile, something that is appreciated by its many fruit and vegetable farmers.

The land and the weather in Colorado’s Grand Valley have drawn numerous companies to the region, whether it supports their business or simply the lifestyle of its employees. Over 75% public lands, ranging from snowcapped mountains to forests, lakes, rivers and desert plains, are just out the front door for Grand Valley residents.

Source: Grand Junction Economic Partnership

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