Houweling’s Tomatoes Brings Green Thumb and Green Practices to Utah

Pete CodellaNews, Tax Credits

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and Houweling’s Tomatoes announced today the company will build a new, environmentally friendly greenhouse tomato farm in Juab County that will create more than 280 new jobs.

The Utah facility will employ state of the art climate control and sustainability technology. It will be heated with waste heat from a nearby natural gas fired electrical generation facility, enabling Houweling to operate with a very low carbon footprint. Additionally, the facility will utilize waste CO2 off the generators stack to provide CO2 fertilization to tomato crops. PacifiCorp Energy is the owner/operator of the Currant Creek Power Plant, and Rocky Mountain Power will be supplying the electricity for Houweling’s operations.

“Houweling’s Tomatoes will positively impact the rural community of Juab County through its expansion and green practices,” said Spencer P. Eccles, executive director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “It is encouraging to see a company come to Utah that is innovating and implementing eco-friendly operations.”

The creation of the Utah facility will lead to $18,160,900 in new state taxes and $267,891,773 in new state wages. The more than 280 jobs that will be created with this expansion will pay at least 100 percent of the Juab County wage. Each incented position will include company contributed health insurance.

“Houweling’s Tomatoes new state of the art facility for growing tomatoes, its strong workforce and innovative method of lowering the carbon footprint within Juab County is exhilarating to the County’s vibrant business community,” stated Rick Carlton, Juab County Commissioner.  “GOED, Houweling and Juab County’s hard work over the last year to bring this innovative farm to Juab County demonstrates impressive proof communities and businesses can have both economic success and environmental sustainability.”

The announced project will require $79 million in capital investment and will be carried out in two phases. The first phase, comprised of 28.3 acres, is projected to realize annual farm gate sales of approximately $23.3 million.

“My passion is growing fresh, great tasting tomatoes. I am excited at the opportunity to bring this to the people of Utah. Our farm will not only offer great employment opportunities in Juab County, it will ensure that the people of Utah can enjoy locally grown, fresh, delicious tomatoes 365 days a year,” says Casey Houweling, president and CEO of the company that bears his family namesake.

Mr. Houweling went on to note, “I would also like to express our sincere appreciation to PacifiCorp Energy and Rocky Mountain Power for their patience, persistence and can-do spirit in helping us move this project along over the last two years. As far as we are aware, this is the first commercial scale operation in the world that will pull both heat and CO2 directly from a power provider.”

“PacifiCorp and Rocky Mountain Power have also found the collaboration rewarding,” says Mickey Beaver, Economic Development Manager.  “The project will demonstrate a sustainable technology partnership and environmentally friendly utilization of land, water, waste heat and CO2 to diversify the economy, create jobs and grow exceptional tomatoes. Everyone wins.”

Houweling’s Tomatoes is comprised of Houweling Nurseries Oxnard Inc. in Southern California and Houweling Nurseries Ltd. in Delta, British Columbia. The group consists of two greenhouse facilities, a 125 acre facility in Southern California and a 50 acre facility in Delta British Columbia, that grow and sell fresh greenhouse tomatoes. Company-wide Houweling’s currently has 750 employees.  Each company operates autonomously, but under common ownership of the Houweling family. The Group intends to follow this pattern and create a separate legal entity for the Utah operations.

Founded by Cornelius Houweling and now led by his son Casey, Houweling’s is dedicated to delivering a full complement of scrumptious, locally grown tomatoes, while constantly innovating to reduce its environmental footprint.

“Utah’s food and agriculture sector, which employs nearly 12,000 people in the state, is incredibly diverse. Houweling’s innovative and sustainable approach to food production adds a unique component to the industry,” said Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. “We are absolutely thrilled that Houwelings has chosen Utah for their expansion.”

As part of a contract with Houweling’s Tomatoes, the GOED Board of Directors has approved a maximum cap tax credit of $4,648,270 in the form of a post-performance Economic Development Tax Increment Finance (EDTIF) incentive, which is 25.6 percent of the net taxes Houweling’s Utah operation will pay over the 20-year life of the agreement. Each year as Houweling’s meet the criteria in its contract with the state, it will earn a portion of the tax credit incentive.

Those interested in working for the company can apply online by going to http://www.houwelings.com/ and clicking on “work with us” under the “about us” tab.