The foothills of the southeastern, mountainous areas in Nevada provide ideal locations for the production of high quality blueberries. Contrary to popular assumptions, these areas possess high quality water, suitable climatic conditions, and communities with high levels of unemployment (i.e. an abundance of labor), all of which are essential to a successful, sustainable agricultural program. The town of Pahrump, Nevada, is the largest settlement in Nye County, and home to approximately 36,400 residents (U.S. Census, 2010). As with much of the State of Nevada, Pahrump currently suffers from high levels of unemployment (11.7%), rising poverty levels (3), and decreasing mean household income.
18.4% of residents with income below the poverty level, compared with 17.0% in Nevada as a whole. 2012 U.S. Census Bureau Estimates indicate a poverty rate of as much as 20.7% in Pahrump ($34,382 in 2011, compared with $34,860 in 2000) (city-data.com, 2014)
OUTLINE OF EXPANSION OPPORTUNITY
At present, an enormous opportunity exists for the early and late season provision of blueberries in the domestic U.S. market, particularly the organic and locally grown markets:
- A 40% shortfall in supply to the consumer market has led to producers from South America successfully increasing their market share in the USA.
- USA based growers are in short supply during early and late season production.
- FullBlue360 seeks to initiate production in new regions of the USA (such as Nevada) -previously dismissed as inhospitable – in order to capture the market opportunity at these key times.
- FullBlue360’s production of locally grown organic blueberries will present consumers with an all-season alternative to non-organic imports.
In-depth studies of climatic and meteorological data for Nevada indicate that blueberry crops planted in the southwestern region will ripen from late March to late May (spring weather dependent), similar to the market timing of Florida. More northern regions allow for the establishment of later ripening cultivars, ensuring that Nevada blueberries will be on the shelves in East and West Coast Markets, at competitive prices, for the majority of the North American Blueberry season.
PLAN OF ACTION
In establishing a full-ownership farming operation, FullBlue360 will start with a planting site of 20-acres with a view to expand to 100 – 200 acres over a period of 3-5 years;
- Which will serve as a centralized hub for planting, harvesting, and distribution of blueberries in the State of Nevada and surrounding regions; and
- Which will be managed and maintained by FullBlue360, utilizing local labor and state of the art techniques to grow the region’s berry industry under highly skilled supervision.
This proposed Full Blue venture seeks to fulfill the following key objectives:
- Implement a high-return business model through which investors will benefit from our lucrative, internally-developed technology and methodologies, and the precision market timing coordinated under a “FullBlue360 Nevada Blueberry” brand;
- Spur job and wealth creation in South West Nevada (currently having amongst the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the USA);
- A typical FullBlue360 blueberry planting site will employ approximately 13 permanent staff (at a living wage) per 20 acres, whilst requiring between 80–100 seasonal harvesting staff for approximately 2-4 months (depending on site size); and
- Create a foundation or co-operative by which a regionally and internationally competitive local blueberry production industry can be fostered. The foundation will educate the public at large on the value of sustainable agricultural practices.
ADVANTAGES / NOTABLE BENEFITS
The geographic location, coupled with FullBlue360’s technology and methodologies for the Nevada-based blueberry farm, place the company in an advantageous position due to the following factors:
- Uniquely positioned to take advantage of domestic consumer / demand centers in Las Vegas and along the western coast of the USA (Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco) over current primary western region blueberry production states such as Michigan;
- Competitive and easy access to robust and booming export markets such as those in the Pacific and Asia (China likely to be a world leader in blueberry demand in the next 10 years [World Blueberry Report 2012]);
- Technology transfer to the USA of a proven high-yield blueberry farming system that is sustainable and vastly exceeds the resulting yields of traditional growing methods;
- Methodologies employed are labor-intensive and go against the trend of increased mechanization in the global blueberry industry, providing local residents with viable employment and business opportunities, and helping the state’s unemployment situation; and
- Detailed capital requirements and conservative budgetary and cash-flow analyses assure a robust, sustainable Return on Investment (ROI).