Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE · May 4, 2023
Office of the Governor
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Virginia Agriculture Startup to Expand in Albemarle County with $25 Million Investment
AgroSpheres to create over 50 jobs, enhance production, and build a demonstration facility for new products
RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that AgroSpheres, a leader in developing the next generation of environmentally friendly crop health products, will invest $25 million to expand in Albemarle County. The company will increase production space at its operation at 1180Seminole Trail and construct an R&D and demonstration facility for new products, creating over 50 new jobs. This facility will be a pilot plant that will pave the way for a larger manufacturing operation in the future.
“Thanks to innovative companies like AgroSpheres,Virginia is quickly becoming a hub for cutting-edge developments in agriculture technology,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “As the Commonwealth’s largest private sector industry, agriculture is engrained in the foundation of our economy. We are proud that Virginia-educated entrepreneurs took a leap that is paying off and the Commonwealth remains committed to ensuring an environment that fosters the growth of startups and small businesses.”
“We are thrilled to support the growth of a groundbreaking Virginia startup like AgroSpheres,”said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “This expansion reinforces the Commonwealth’s entrepreneurial spirit, and we are confident this homegrown company will find continued success in Albemarle County and positively impactVirginia’s growing agriculture technology sector.”
“Biotech developments help drive the agricultural industry forward, and we are proud that AgroSpheres is revolutionizing environmentally friendly crop protection products right here in Virginia,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matt Lohr. “This innovative company is advancing the fertile agrotech industry in the Commonwealth and will help ensure a sustainable ecosystem for fresh produce for years to come.”
“We are blessed to have started AgroSpheres in one of the best states to do business. There is no better place to build our company than right herein Charlottesville, Virginia. Agriculture is this great state’s largest and oldest industry, and we hope to be leaders in moving our industry toward cleaner solutions. The Commonwealth of Virginia is a strong supporter of biotech, from providing investments to establishing a major biotech institute inCharlottesville, to grant administration by the Virginia Catalyst and theCommonwealth Commercialization Fund to supporting R&D,” said Payam Pourtaheri, Founder and CEO of AgroSpheres.
“The support we have received from our city and county, as well as access to a talented workforce, has helped us strengthen our roots. Localizing manufacturing has been a major goal for us and we are grateful to Virginia for supporting our efforts to bring our production to Charlottesville,” said Ameer Shakeel, Founder and CTO of AgroSpheres.
“On behalf of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, we are pleased to support the next stage of growth for AgroSpheres right here in Albemarle County,” said Chair Donna Price. “As a research and development company in the agribusiness sector, AgroSpheres’ continued success in our community furthers our economic development strategic plan, Project ENABLE, in several key areas.”
“I'm proud to live and work in a state that is as economically competitive as we are,” said Senator Bryce Reeves. “Thank you,Governor Youngkin, for your work to make Virginia the most business-friendly state in the USA! Agriculture is the backbone of the Virginia economy, and I'm excited to see AgroSpheres creating new jobs and furthering their investment in our Commonwealth.”
AgroSpheres envisions a future built by nature’s technologies. Founded and located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the company’s mission is to transform agriculture through reliable and affordable biobased solutions. AgroSpheres’ patented AgriCell and AgriShell technologies enable the development of biological pesticides that have a multi-year shelf-life and high efficacy in the field. AgroSpheres’ delivery platform makes it cost-effective to manufacture and deliver biomolecules, small molecules, and semiochemicals in the field at a significantly reduced dose.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Albemarle County to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Youngkin approved a $200,000grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Albemarle County with the project. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through theVirginia Jobs Investment Program. The Virginia Innovation PartnershipCorporation also supported AgroSpheres through its Commonwealth ResearchCommercialization Fund in 2019.