AgriNomix, which manufactures a wide range of greenhouse equipment, is once again expanding its warehouses and offices in Oberlin, OH. The 19,250 square-foot expansion is the fourth that AgriNomix has tackled in the last decade. It will bring the office and warehouse space of the horticultural machinery and automation company to a total of 94,950 square feet.
“We have the land for one more expansion after this one, and looking at the challenges our clients are facing, it may not be too far away,” says AgriNomix President Robert Lando.
The labor shortage is the crux of the issue for many growers when it comes to increasing their focus on automation, Lando says.
“The Southern border is tighter than before, and the generation born of migrant workers does not want to do this kind of intensive manual work,” Lando says. “Pay isn’t the issue. Horticulture is simply not appealing enough. Growers have always been complaining about this, but the situation is now beyond an aggravation. It’s at a point where many growers are running short of workers, and they simply can’t meet their labor requirements.”
In the past, growers may have held back from automation because they thought it was too expensive on the short term, or the return in investment (ROI) often wasn’t convincing enough.
That has changed, Lando says.
“Right now, a short-term ROI is not even that important. Growers simply need to get the job done. Becoming a low-cost-producer is great but becoming a lower-labor-producer is essential.”
This situation has directed manufacturers like AgriNomix to design new and innovative tools and solutions to meet their customers’ needs.
“Many growers are asking us to help them make the work more desirable for workers through less physical labor. We’re very busy in R&D with that in mind, and needed to expand our factory again in order to have enough space to develop and assemble our broadening range of products.”