Editor looking at Iceland for ag

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REYKJAVIK, Iceland—Companies that want to locate agricultural manufacturing or a variety of agricultural operations in a strategic place should strongly consider Iceland, according to the Invest in Iceland organization officers.

“There is a misconception that we are far away,” said Thordur Hilmarsson, director of Invest in Iceland. “Iceland is strategically located between the two continents (Europe and North America).”

A four-day visit to Iceland by four agriculture, two renewable fuels, and three data center journalists kicked off Monday with a presentation by Invest in Iceland.

It is a misconception that Iceland is out of the way. Travel is only two to three hours from European country cities and four to seven hours from major U.S. cities. Ocean shipping is only three days to European ports and seven days to the northeastern U.S.

If the nation’s current gross domestic product (GDP) is broken into three categories, approximately 40 percent is from fish export and 40 percent is from aluminum processing and exports. The remaining 20 percent comes from services and tourism. The country wants major diversification with additional industries.

Examples of drivers for locating companies in Iceland include low-cost renewable energy (geothermal and hydro energy), the country’s energy firms will sign long-term energy cost contracts for up to 40 years in length, the country has world-class infrastructure, labor is highly educated, land is plentiful and inexpensive for 99 year leases and the land mass is as stabile as most any country in the world—the shift in land masses are shifting away from each other rather than coming together to result in a damaging earthquake.

Two industry focuses of the past that the Invest in Iceland group has looked at for locating in the country are aquatic biomass (algae) production and industrial greenhouses. Those appear to only be the tip of the iceberg—and icebergs do exist around the nation.

The country’s renewable energy is “infinite,” said Kristinn Haflidason, project manager for Invest in Iceland. Investment in agricultural operations in Iceland can be done with a small carbon footprint because of the geothermal and hydro power, which fits companies attempting to be as green and sustainable in their operations as possible.

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