US (NC): California company makes $9M investment in Mills River-based greenhouse

A new 65,000-square-feet, $9 million biotech greenhouse operation, which is developing genetically-engineered potatoes and corn and a variety of other plants, officially went public May 24 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by many Henderson County government and agricultural leaders.

Ohalo Genetics, a company founded by Jud Ward in Watsonville, California, had mostly kept its Mills River location under wraps, according to Agribusiness Henderson County Executive Director Mark Williams, who worked to bring the company to the area and spoke prior to the ribbon cutting.

"I've determined that there is an explanation as to why they've been so secretive in their breeding research with potatoes and corn. It's because potatoes have eyes and corn has ears," Williams said as the crowd erupted in laughter.

Ward said the company had invested $9 million in the new facility, which is next door to the greenhouse at Van Wingerden International and located at 4076 Haywood Road.


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