Albemarle EDA signs agreement for Agrospheres funding

The Board of Directors for the Albemarle Economic Development Authority has ratified a performance agreement with a local company that seeks to expand its sale and manufacture of a new generation of pesticide delivery systems.

Agrospheres has set up operations at 1180 Seminole Trail and recently was awarded $200,000 from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Development Opportunity Fund. There’s also a $36,000 from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 

“They’ve committed to $25 million of capital investment and creating 53 new jobs for research and development and a test of a manufacturing area,” said J.T. Newberry, Albemarle’s interim director for economic development. 

AgroSpheres got its start as a laboratory venture at the University of Virginia. The company will be seeking to hire people with experience in biotech fermentation, plant molecular biologists, and other types of scientists. 

Payam Pourtaheri, founder and CEO of AgroSpheres, told the EDA’s Board on August 22 that 14 of those jobs have been created so far.

“The facility isn’t up and running yet so a lot more jobs will be created,” Pourtaheri said. “We’ve recently received organic approval for our technology that helps basically to provide a controlled release of biological pesticides.” 

Pourtaheri said the technology is free of microplastics unlike other delivery systems. 

“Really excited about that and that’s what we’re going to be manufacturing here in Albemarle County,” Pourtaheri said. 

Approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency is needed before the product can become commercially available. Pourtaheri said he’s hopeful the green light will be given within a year. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the August 30, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

Additionally, this was posted during a time I’ve upgraded to a new WordPress theme. Some things may not look as they should. But, it’s a fun experiment!

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