(June 8) After more than 20 years of discussion and planning, the State Farmers Market, Columbia, S.C., broke ground June 7.

The ceremonial groundbreaking began an estimated two-year, $60-million project that will be the first of its kind in the U.S.

The farmers market will rest on a 196-acre site and is expected to include major wholesale facilities, retail and truck vendors, a picnic area and a meat market, said Becky Walton, director of communications and public information for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. The market also plans to have fresh-item vendors that will offer meat, fish, cheese, spices and organically grown produce.

According to estimates, the new facility is expected to generate about $75 million in revenue by its 20th year of operation.

“This day stands as a testament to the faith that Richland County has in South Carolina farmers and our commitment to the agricultural industry as a whole,” said Tony Mizzell, chairman of Richmond County Council, in a news release June 7.

One of the wholesalers using the old Bluff Road farmers market, David Nidiffer, president of L&N Produce Co. Inc., Columbia, said he plans to move to the new site once it’s complete.

“Change is exciting, but it is also a nervous time for a business,” he said.