Iron Ox, a farming innovation company with expertise in plant science, robotics and artificial intelligence, will invest over $100 million to locate a one million-square-foot facility on 85 acres in Lockhart, Texas.
Based in California's Silicon Valley, the company's mission is to make growing fresh produce carbon negative. Iron Ox has redesigned every step of the farming process, from seed to store shelf, achieving levels of precision that are impossible through conventional farming.
“To meet the increased demand for nutritious and sustainable produce grown locally, we are committed to scaling our business to serve consumer needs," said Iron Ox CEO Brandon Alexander, who grew up picking cotton, potatoes and peanuts on his family’s farm in Texas. “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 voted to commit $200,000 toward the construction of water and wastewater utilities, and the Lockhart City Council provided incentives for Iron Ox, which in April 2021, broke ground on a 535,000-square-foot facility on Reed Drive, to expand its footprint in the city. Incentives also include the five-year City property tax rebate incentive to Iron Ox, once its expansion facility on South Commerce Street is finished and a certificate of occupancy has been granted.
“Companies like Iron Ox are making a difference in small town local economies in Texas. That’s why I’m so proud to have them as a GO TEXAN partner,” said Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller. “Iron Ox has chosen to grow with Lockhart. As a result, our Texas agricultural economy will benefit from their expansion. To many, Bar-B-Q helped put Lockhart on the national stage. Now, thanks to Iron Ox, Lockhart can be known as a center for agricultural innovation, and a trend setter in the future of agriculture in both Texas and the nation.”
To receive the rebate, Iron Ox must close on the land, construct the utilities and pay for them, and begin construction for the new facility, with an expected capital investment of $120 million. The Lockhart City Council felt that construction of the utilities will provide benefits beyond the facility, as that area within the community continues to experience growth requiring public services.