11/16/18 – 80 Acres Agriculture wins award for performance

Posted on: November 19th, 2018 by admin


November 16, 2018


By Guy Lucas




For the third year in a row, a Caldwell County company has been recognized for outstanding performance in manufacturing, and a Valdese company also won a manufacturing award.


80 Acres Farms in Granite Falls, which converts old international shipping containers into hydroponic units for growing produce, won a Manufacturing Leadership Award from the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership in the category of Manufacturing Excellence.


“The company has reduced the grow cycle times of leafy greens and herbs by more than 30 percent as compared to conventional growth methods,” NCMEP noted in its press release on the award winners. “In addition, by optimizing nutrient management, 80 Acres Farms can control the grow zone environment that allows the company to double the yields realized by traditional farming methods. … This innovation is made possible by the company’s engineering department working directly with the farm operations team to design, build and deploy grow zone equipment that is both user-friendly and able to meet product standards. Just recently, the engineering unit redesigned a pump system to reduce electricity usage by 15 percent. In fact, each generation of grow zone designs has seen a 5 to 28 percent reduction in electricity usage.”


80 Acres, which is based in Ohio, opened its Granite Falls facility in 2016. 80 Acres officials want to create a national network of hydroponic farming operations, and it manufacturers all of its equipment in Granite Falls. The company has grown from two employees in Granite Falls to 17 employees and is sending shipments of produce and herbs to Whole Foods twice a week, a demand so high the company has said it plans to add 50 more employees over the next 18 months.


NCMEP is part of the MEP National Network, a public-private partnership that provides services to help manufacturers enhance productivity and technological performance.


Exela Pharma Sciences, a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Lenoir, won a Manufacturing Leadership Award in 2017, and Associated Hardwoods, a wood products manufacturer in Granite Falls, won in 2016. Both won in the category of Developing Markets.


Meridian Specialty Yarn Group in Valdese won a 2018 award in the category of Innovation. The company has a 270,000-square-foot plant in Valdese and is working on an expansion adding 116,000 square feet, along with an extensive modernization that will make the facility one of the most modern yarn and fiber dyeing facilities in the world, NCMEP said in its press release.

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