Agriculture, Central New York, Environment

Indoor Farming Could Create Jobs for Central New York

One local farm combats the harsh winter with high tunnels.

By Kathryn Robinson PULASKI, N.Y. (NCC News) — The potential for indoor farming could mean hundreds of new jobs for Cayuga and Onondaga counties.

The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council’s proposal for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative includes $50 million towards boosting the region’s agricultural output.

The council said they expect that 339 jobs could be created if the project for a controlled environment agriculture in the region wins the funding.

SUNY-ESF Paper and Bioprocess Engineering Professor, Tom Amidon, said he expects it could be many more.

“Beyond that there’s distribution, people who supply and repair motors, people who fix the greenhouses and help to maintain them,” Amidon said.

Amidon told NCC News that workers need to be highly trained to work in these controlled environments.

“That tends to lead to really good paying jobs because there’s a lot of skill involved,” Amidon said.

This can also be a challenge, according to Amidon.  He said it can be difficult to make sure workers are initially trained well enough.

There are other factors to consider as well. The council’s proposal would cover 150 acres that needs electricity and water. SUNY-ESF Professor Sus Ikuta said the project would require a significant engineering effort up front.