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Iron Ox produce will soon be available in Central Texas grocery stores. (Iron Ox/Twitter)

Robotic farming firm and Silicon Valley startup Iron Ox is expanding its Texas presence by creating a 1 million square foot facility in Lockhart. The company anticipates a $120 million capital investment for the new facility.

In a statement, Lockhart Mayor Lew White applauded the company's growth in the Caldwell County city south of Austin. Already, the company’s local presence includes a facility that broke ground in April of last year, and is a few miles east of the new facility.

“Iron Ox has already made a great impact in the City of Lockhart at their state-of-the-art facility on Reed Drive,” White said. “Our city council was pleased to offer these latest incentives so the company can move forward with its new million-square-foot facility on Commerce Street, which will create more job growth and enhance our community’s business development.”

The incentives, which include a five-year property tax rebate and a grant for utility construction, were finalized during a Nov. 16 City Council vote. Members had committed $200,000 toward the construction of water and wastewater facilities. The incentives deal comes with requirements, including that Iron Ox closes on the land, constructs and pays for utilities and begins construction in order to receive the rebate.

Iron Ox, which currently sells in Northern California, touts a sustainable method for growing produce through robotics and plant science, claiming to use less water and energy and emit less CO2. With the use of robots, Iron Ox says it is able to optimize plant yield, reduce growth cycle time and create better quality crops. Early this year, Iron Ox produce like herbs, fruits and leafy greens will be available in Central Texas grocery stores.

CEO Brandon Alexander says he is thankful for the latest expansion, as he grew up picking cotton, potatoes and peanuts on his family’s farm in Texas.

“To meet the increased demand for nutritious and sustainable produce grown locally, we are committed to scaling our business to serve consumer needs,” Alexander said. “We are excited to explore the possibility of a second facility in the City of Lockhart as part of our long-term strategy and are beyond grateful to the Mayor and the City Council for helping make this a reality.”

The city’s announcement noted that the project will bring jobs, revenues and other benefits to the city. Current open positions in Lockhart include a technician for food safety, a quality assurance supervisor and an automations control commissioning engineer.


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