Center will attract industry innovators, support Palouse’s ag economy
PULLMAN – The Port of Whitman County has been awarded a $5 million loan from the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board to acquire approximately 100 acres of land and install public infrastructure for an Agriculture Advancement Center.
The Port has identified a potential property near Pullman for the site. Committed private partner and startup company AgTech OS will serve as the anchor tenant. The Port will seek future tenants that would benefit from locating in this type of industry cluster.
AgTech OS plans to establish a biodiesel facility that will convert a local rotation crop, canola, into sustainable fuels for agricultural operations. Once at scale, the facility is projected to produce 10.8 million gallons of B100 (pure) biodiesel, 60,000 tons of seed meal and 900,000 gallons of Propanediol per year.
The company will purchase approximately 100,000 tons of canola grain per year from local farmers. AgTech OS held growers’ meetings in 2022, in which farmers expressed positive feedback about a local company purchasing their crop, according to AgTech OS. The proximity to local farming operations will also reduce the overall carbon footprint and costs of the operation.
“The CERB award and partnership with the Port of Whitman County solidified our plan to bring game-changing sustainable AgTech to the Palouse with NVIDIA,” said Ernest Spicer, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of AgTech OS.
The facility is expected to sustain about 44 direct jobs once fully operational. However, the total contribution to the regional broad economy, including direct and indirect effects, has been estimated at 464 jobs, $136.2 million in sales and $2.5 million in tax revenue to the State of Washington, according to University of Idaho economist Steve Peterson.
“Companies like AgTech OS can bring the kind of skilled jobs, sustainability mindset and agricultural synergy that we need on the Palouse,” said Port Commission President Karl Webber. “The Port is eager to ensure this company makes its home, and its success, in Whitman County.”
The Port’s role in the project is facilitating the acquisition of a property within Whitman County and making the necessary public infrastructure improvements. The public infrastructure will include roads, sewer, water, electrical and telecommunications to serve the private sector buildings. If a land purchase occurs expeditiously, the planning, engineering and permitting could take place as soon as this summer.
The Port is matching the $5 million CERB loan for the land purchase, site preparation and utility construction with $1.25 million from its general fund. The entire project, including facility construction, storage and crushing equipment, renewable energy infrastructure and industrial operations equipment, is estimated to cost $111.25 million. AgTech OS plans to source this funding from a combination of private and public funding.
About the Port of Whitman County
The Port of Whitman County is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all citizens of Whitman County through industrial real estate development, preservation of multi-modal transportation, facilitation of economic development and provision of on-water recreational opportunities.