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Mushroom farm set to re-open

Submitted by admin on August 27, 2010 – 4:12 pmNo Comment

file photo of mushroom farm in Shoshoni

By News Director Leslie Stratmoen

SHOSHONI, Wyo. – The Wyoming Business Reports says a closed mushroom growing facility in eastern Fremont County is expected to re-open in about four months. Riverton businessman Ken Hostetter who bought the farm at a bankruptcy auction last year plans to hire 62 full-time workers to produce over 4 million pounds of three varieties of mushrooms.

Hostetter is a 35-year oil field veteran who owns and operates Earthworks, an oil-field remediation business near Riverton. His partner in the mushroom venture is Stanley Dolinar, whose expertise is in pipeline engineering and business management.

The two told the Economic and Community Development Association this week that the former plant, known as Wind River Mushrooms, failed because of an unskilled and transient work force. Inmates from the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton which is the state’ s minimum security prison, with added migrant farm workers.

The new owners plan to develop a local workforce for year-round jobs earning what they called “good” pay – about $9 an hour to start, and pickers by the pound, who could make from $45,000 to $55,000 a year. Right now, they’re hiring six people a week and are ramping up that process with the goal of being fully staffed within the next three months.

The original operation was built with state funds through a $600,000 investment by the Wyoming Business Council, according to regional director Roger Bower. That included $360,000 in road improvements and $250,000 in start-up costs. He said the state, though, at this point, is only out about $40,000 of its initial investment because a portion of the start-up costs has been repaid.

From information provided by the Wyoming Business Report

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