Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin visits Manassas to promote indoor farming industry

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin was in Manassas Thursday to promote the growth of indoor vertical farming in the state. 

State officials are aiming to address economic challenges faced by indoor farmers.

The concept of "vertical farming" may seem straightforward, but implementing it is complex. The new Beanstalk Vertical Farm in Prince William County features 50-foot grow towers, which will soon fill a massive warehouse.

Salad greens, tomatoes, and various produce are grown in this environmentally-controlled vertical farm. Farmers can regulate temperature, water, soil and sunlight on these grow towers. "This is an extraordinary vision! Multiple harvests every year, incredibly high-quality produce, and a much more efficient use of our resources," said Youngkin. 

But everything needed for vertical farming adds up to some serious green. Youngkin signed a tax exemption to help vertical farmers buy their equipment and lower their costs. 

"The cost of producing food is a critical issue for indoor farming. That's our top priority at Beanstalk, so we've invested in a new form of farming that reduces the costs to build these farms significantly," said Mike Ross, co-founder of Beanstalk Vertical Farm.

Officials hope that Virginia will become a national leader in vertical farming. Two years ago, the state announced a $300 million vertical farm in Chesterfield County. The industry has since grown to a $500 million business, creating 750 jobs.

Youngkin's visit comes less than two weeks before Virginia's primary elections, which include all 11 congressional seats and open races in the 7th and 10th districts. The outcomes may determine which party controls Congress. Youngkin has been encouraging GOP voters to embrace early voting, a move now supported by the RNC despite previous criticisms from Donald Trump.

"We want everyone who can vote and wants to vote to have the opportunity. I firmly believe we should use the entire voting period to get people out to vote. There are always those who might miss it," said Youngkin.