The company grows algae on 96 acres of lined ponds, but the current demand for algae is higher than the facility can supply. The farm has sufficient water to support needed expansion, however new buildings, processing, and harvesting equipment are needed to meet production demands.
Brad Strathe, chief financial officer for Green Stream Farms, said the family-owned company assumed operations of the property in 2019 and is investing roughly $7 million in upgraded harvesting, filtration, and processing equipment.
The $250,000 grant from the state Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) job-creators fund will help Green Stream Farms to more than double its annual harvest, from 250 tons to 700 tons by 2022, adding 23 employees over the next five years.
Green Stream customers use the algae primarily in two vertical markets, as a feed supplement for healthier livestock and for omega-3 enriched nutraceutical products available at many retail outlets.
According to Strathe, “there is growing research on the health benefits of omega-3 in the diet and whether it’s using our products for healthier livestock for human consumption or processing the algae directly into nutraceutical consumer products; we see growing demand for our environmentally friendly algae for many years to come.”
The Luna County Commission on August 12 approved the New Mexico Economic Development Department/Luna County LEDA project, which allows the county to be the fiscal agent for the project and provide any necessary technical assistance. "My administration has worked closely with Luna County to partner on this state LEDA project," Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said. "The investment in this community will create jobs and boost the vital agricultural economy of Southern New Mexico."
Luna County is the ideal location for Green Stream’s microalgae production due to its climate and moderate overnight temperatures. The site is the second largest outdoor algae farm in the world, with harvesting occurring in all but the hottest 2-3 months of summer.