"We look at each project individually as to the goals of the company, what needs to be grown, and how much yield is required. From there, with our clients, we discuss the facility itself, the needs of the site, the types of equipment, and help our clients make good decisions along the entire path," says Todd Friedman, Director of Strategic Partnerships for DAG, an American constructor of CEA facilities.
Dominion Builders started building its first agriculture project in 2015 with a Deep Water Culture facility for BrightFarms. Shortly thereafter, the company had two more facilities to build and was hooked. As Todd explains, the company developed a streamlined way of designing and building CEA facilities for its clients and learned a lot from that first project. Shortly after that, Dominion-AG, the agriculture division, was created in 2016. In 2020, that was shortened to DAG.
From lettuce to cannabis
DAG is rather equipment agnostic, looking for the best specific solutions for its clients. "We work with them in the vetting process, so everything is transparent and above board. We focus on cost-effective solutions to assure long-term success for growers throughout North America," Todd adds.
DAG handles the planning, design, and construction of CEA facilities for the food crops and cannabis industries. DAG, The Grow Facility Company, takes a project from concept to harvest with a full suite of services, including foundational planning, integrated preconstruction services, which include full design of the facility and procurement of all equipment, and finally, construction and commissioning.
Expectations for 2024
As Todd explains, CEA is still an emerging industry, and there is a major desire to find ways to grow successfully indoors and create competitive unit costs. Innovation, energy usage, and government subsidies will help support this essential industry in continuing to develop. "There is a bright future, but it won't be without some growing pains."
When it comes to the cannabis market, there are challenges, especially this year, for getting funding, Todd says. "It is not going to go away. But the initial enthusiasm has awakened to the concept that even though it's cannabis, you still need sound business practices to succeed. The holy grail is, of course, a reclassification of the plant so that investment opportunities can be more affordable and available."
How is DAG involved in the vertical farming space? Although the bulk of its projects are greenhouse, hybrid, and warehouse projects, DAG has bid on vertical farms and worked with vertical farming companies previously. "We are looking forward to more vertical farm opportunities and believe them to be an important part of our repertoire. We are passionate about the agriculture industry and love being a part of it – so we are all in," Todd affirms.