Governor McAuliffe Announces 21 New Jobs in Loudoun County
~Kappa Farms to invest $865,000; open new aquaponics facility~
RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Kappa Farms will create 21 new jobs and invest $865,000 to open an aquaponics operation in Loudoun County. The company will build a closed-loop nutrient cycle aquaponics facility which will produce certified organic baby lettuces and arugula using water and nutrients derived from fish waste. The company will produce over $7 million of Virginia-grown lettuces over the next three years, which it will then sell to customers and restaurants in the Washington D.C. metro area.
“The success of Virginia’s agriculture industry is a testament to the diversity and quality of our products, as well as our outstanding reputation in the global economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I thank Kappa Farm for their investment in Loudoun County and look forward to seeing them successfully enter a new and growing marketplace for organic produce. We will continue to support projects and products that diversify our agriculture industry, build the new Virginia economy and contribute to the Commonwealth’s reputation as the best place to do business around the world.”
Virginia is the nation’s third largest seafood producer and the largest on America’s Atlantic coast. In addition, Virginia is ranked tenth nationally in aquaculture production. Virginia’s watermen harvest 50 commercially valuable species from 620,000 acres of water, including sea scallops, blue crabs, striped bass, summer flounder, croaker, spot, clams and oysters. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science reported the annual economic impact of Virginia’s seafood industry to be over one half of a billion dollars.
“This new investment by Kappa Farms represents another positive step for Virginia as we reinforce our reputation as a key player in the nation’s seafood sector,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden. “Aquaculture production represents an opportunity for Virginia to capitalize on the need to feed a growing population with limited resources. We are lucky to have an innovative company like Kappa Farms as a member of the agriculture community in Virginia.”
“Kappa Farms is investing in Sterling, Virginia to retrofit a warehouse to operate year-round as an organic, indoor farm,” added Schuyler Milton, who co-founded Kappa Farms with Keith Born. “Kappa Farms will locally grow and supply organic salad greens, herbs and microgreens to Northern Virginia. It is an incredibly exciting time to be involved in agricultural technology. Environmental challenges, changes in economics, and advances in materials and technology have all come to a point at which supplying locally grown and organic produce is both more vital and more feasible than ever before. We’re very privileged to have been born and raised in Virginia, and we’re very happy to be able to help bring this new industry to Virginia, in no small part thanks to Governor McAuliffe and Loudoun County.”
“We’re proud to welcome Kappa’s expansion into Loudoun County,” said Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer. “Theirs is the type of unique, science-based innovation that sets Loudoun businesses apart.”
“I applaud Kappa Farms for their investment and expansion in Sterling,” said Senator Jennifer Wexton. “Loudoun’s agricultural community will be elevated by Kappa’s innovative agricultural technology and I look forward to seeing their products in the homes and restaurants in the 33rd District and beyond.”
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Loudoun County and Chrysalis Vineyards to secure this project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $40,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Loudoun will match with local funds.