Employee Void Crippling Monahans Greenhouse
Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MONAHANS - The Village Farms Greenhouse in Monahans, the thousands of tomatoes they produce and the surrounding community, are all at risk.

The greenhouse started production back in February but dozens of jobs needed to take care of the tomatoes are still empty.

"We have at least 40 as of today," Administrative Manager, Chandra Eggemeyer, said.

These are jobs key to the care of the tomatoes.

"They could be doing de-leafing. They may be pruning. They may be picking," Eggemeyer said.

Greenhouse officials want to keep the jobs local but they're having to bring in employees all the way from their Marfa facility just to keep things going.

NewsWest 9 started chasing this story after we found a poster advertising employment for the greenhouse all the way in Pecos.

They even have a referral bonus for current employees.

"If you refer a friend that comes to work for the facility and they stay for 90 days, there's a $250 bonus for you," Eggemeyer said.

Oil field competition and a lack of housing are being blamed, nothing new to Monahans.

"We think you could take care of it if you had good rental property and housing for people so it's not new to the City of Monahans," Monahans Mayor, David Cutbirth, said.

This shortage has a chain reaction in Monahans.

The employee void halts future greenhouse expansions and the jobs coming with them.

"They're not going to be able to build Phase Two, Three and Four out here, which gives up to five to six hundred employment, without employees," Cutbirth said.

"We definitely want to make sure we're fully staffed with our first greenhouse before we start making plans to expand the operation," Eggemeyer said.

Both the greenhouse and the city are trying to avoid that standstill, hoping their plans to bring in housing work soon.

Applications for employment can be found at the Odessa Texas Workforce Solutions and at the greenhouse gate.