Hogan helps cut ribbon on new Warwick Mushroom facility
— As Gov. Larry Hogan helped cut the ribbon on an expansion of Warwick Mushroom Farm on Friday, he noted that it was a perfect reflection on the emphasis of his administration.
“Our administration really has been focused on economic development and helping to create jobs,” he said. “We’re committed to making Maryland more business-friendly and agriculturefriendly, and every day we’re focused on growing our economy and helping companies in Maryland expand and create more jobs.”
Hogan called the Warwick Mushroom Farm, which currently employs about 230 employees with plans to hire up to 20 more, “an economic driver for northeast Maryland.” The governor also commended Chesapeake Utilities for providing natural gas service to the facility, the first in southern Cecil County, from its home base in Delaware, saying it will “be a great move for further economic development.”
“Exciting ventures like this are yet another example that Maryland really is open for business,” he said. “Your success truly is Maryland’s success.”
Hogan was joined Friday by
Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder, members of Cecil County’s state delegation, Cecil County Executive Tari Moore, members of the Cecil County Council and more.
Bill Steller, Phillips Mushroom Farms CFO, said his company was excited by the impact of their latest expansion.
“Warwick Mushroom Farm is not only one of the most technologically advanced in the United States, but with the latest expan- sion we now believe it is the largest producing single farm in the country, harvesting over 600,000 pounds each week,” he said.
Steller said that Phillips Mushroom Farms has felt welcomed by Maryland pretty much from the outset about seven years ago, but they wondered what the Hogan administration would be like.
“We didn’t know too much about him — heck, we’re just a bunch of Yankees from Pennsylvania — but when he took office, we heard one thing loud and clear, and that was ‘Maryland is open for business,’” he recalled. “So we thought, ‘Well, here’s a guy who knows how to communicate a message and vision.’”
Michael McMasters, Chesapeake Utilities president and CEO, thanked the Phillips family for letting his utility be a part of the project and the governor for facilitating a business-friendly environment.
“We thank you for your support of economic growth and expansion of natural gas infrastructure on the shore. Just think about how many times has the governor been here in southern Cecil County,” he said. “I would guess to say not a lot.”
McMasters noted that it took a lot for Friday’s ribbon cutting to happen, including approvals from Maryland and Delaware’s Public Service Commissions and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
“We are committed to providing natural gas to communities on the Delmarva Peninsula and beyond, and in a manner that reduces emissions, produces long-term savings for the communities and creates jobs,” he said. “Governor, we want to work with you and your administration to help make the Eastern Shore a better place to live for its residents and businesses.”
Warwick Mushroom farm manager Jack Reitnauer explained that the new 160,000- square- foot facility, which will triple the output of the operation, opened in January, but is still coming fully online. The addition of natural gas service will cut the utility costs of the business by some 20 percent, as natural gas will replace propane in heating and boiler operations, which control temperature and watering of mushroom beds.
Gov. Larry Hogan cuts the ribbon Friday of the Warwick Mushroom Farm’s latest expansion.