South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced the development of a 1,000-acre agribusiness compound in Hampton County on Wednesday.
The compound, dubbed the Agriculture Technology Campus, will cost $314 million, and is expected to be fully operational by 2022. It will employ 1,547 people and is expected to generate $7.4 billion over the next 15 years.
The Agriculture Campus will include greenhouses for locally grown, pesticide-free tomatoes, leafy greens, and other produce, a 150,000 square foot distribution center, and a co-packing facility.
The project will use greenhouse technology to grow all of its products year-round. Local farmers can also use their facilities to bottle and package their own products to ship out. Leaders say the program should bring the cost of produce down and extend shelf life as they cut shipping time out. Hugh Weathers, Commissioner for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture says despite this project starting in Hampton County they can expect results across the state in the future.
“Well, we are calling this phase 1,” said Weathers. “The ATC, the ag-tech campus, has secured a lot more property than what will be used in phase 1. So as the food demand grows and as we bring food production to the East Coast and not bring those trucks across the country and have that cost involved, there’s only just potential for additional growth. So it’s… The infrastructure is set up for secondary phases of this development.”
The announcement is in partnership with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Sonny Perdue, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, and the Southern Carolina Regional Development Alliance.