For Immediate Release:
July 22, 2015
Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, (804) 225-4260, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov
| Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Suzanne Clark, 804-545-5806, Sclark@yesvirginia.org | Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Elaine Lidholm, 804-786-7686, Elaine.Lidholm@vdacs.virginia.gov | Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, Inc., Claudia Sullivan, 540-867-4144, Csullivan@vapgc.com
Governor McAuliffe Announces Major Expansion of Poultry Processing Facility in Rockingham County
~Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, Inc. to Invest Almost $62 million to Expand Operations, Increase Virginia-Grown Purchases~
HINTON - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, Inc. will invest almost $62 million over the next three years to construct a new 80,000 square foot turkey processing facility in Hinton. The expansion will be supported by additional investment in the company’s feed mill in Broadway and its grain elevator in Linville. The Cooperative, which consists of 165 member-growers, will create six new jobs and increase production by more than forty-five percent. Virginia successfully competed against Pennsylvania for the project.
Speaking at the announcement event, Governor McAuliffe said, “Today’s announcement is an exciting development for Rockingham County, the Shenandoah Valley region, and the Commonwealth’s thriving poultry industry. The investments being made by the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative will not only increase poultry production and create jobs, but help bolster Virginia’s reputation as one of the nation’s leaders in quality poultry. It also highlights the role that agriculture can and will play in building the new Virginia economy. I applaud the Cooperative’s commitment to growing its business here in Virginia, and I am pleased that the Commonwealth could support such an entrepreneurial project.”
“This investment is a great testament to the exceptional business climate, workforce and quality of life in Rockingham County,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “We are pleased to provide Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, Inc. with the tools to both make a substantial capital investment in their business and their talent. These critical investments will position the company for growth for years to come. We also congratulate Rockingham County on this exciting news, and we look forward to continuing this strong partnership.”
“The Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative’s expansion is an excellent example of an agribusiness responding to meet the growing demand for Virginia-grown products in the global marketplace,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “Poultry is the state’s largest agricultural sector, generating more than $6 billion in direct revenue on an annual basis and creating more than 15,000 jobs. As the need for high quality, wholesome poultry products continues to grow around the world, Virginia is poised through the Cooperative’s investment to increase its position in supplying this essential source of protein. By supporting strategic investments like this, we continue to build a new Virginia economy and better position the Commonwealth to be the East Coast leader for agricultural and forestry exports.”
Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, Inc., formed in 2004, is the 8th largest turkey processor in the United States and one of the largest suppliers of organic and antibiotic-free meat. Over the past decade, the Cooperative has expanded significantly now employing nearly 565 people in the region. The company already has a significant impact on local member-growers and grain producers through its purchasing and processing of seven million turkeys per year.
“Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative has enjoyed tremendous success over the last ten years,” said John A. King, II, General Manager of the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative. “Our success is directly attributed to the strength and quality of our member-producers and the support of our customers, employees and the community. We are excited to announce this expansion and hope this accomplishment will continue to invigorate the agriculture community throughout the region. This expansion will incorporate the very latest technology into our processes. We are responding directly to customer demands and growth requirements, while also taking care of our employees through processing modifications. Our ongoing commitments to food safety and animal welfare also factor heavily in this expansion. VPGC has a history of adapting to changing needs in the marketplace and this expansion allows us to further adjust to both customer and consumer desires. We have spent a great deal of time working with our stakeholders and state and local government leaders to help realize this project. As a premier supplier, we are excited to expand the influence of our company and the reach of our products.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Rockingham County to secure this project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $500,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership (VIP) program, an incentive available to existing companies, to assist Rockingham with the project. The company will also receive a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, administered by VDACS. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. Rockingham County has committed up to $250,000 in matching funds over the life of the project.
“I am very pleased that Rockingham County and the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative have been selected to receive VIP and AFID incentive grants,” said Michael Breeden, Chairman of the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors. “These awards further demonstrate the Commonwealth’s on-going commitment to providing support to our local businesses and farms, which is essential to our agricultural way of life. Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative is an integral part of the agricultural landscape in Rockingham County and we remain committed to their success. No one would have believed that in 2004, when a group of local farmers banded together to form this business, we’d be here today to celebrate such a great accomplishment. It is a testament to the dedication and determination of the cooperative, its member farmers, and employees.”
“The VIP and AFID funds are essential tools for an agriculturally-based economy like ours,” said George Anas, Rockingham County Assistant County Administrator and Director of Economic Development. “Without the Commonwealth’s support it would be difficult for Rockingham County to compete for growing businesses like the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative. The Cooperative is already recognized as a leading producer of poultry products and it had several state and site options available to it when considering this expansion. Its decision to expand in Rockingham County speaks volumes to the spirit of the company’s leadership and its commitment to this community, its member farmers, and employees.”
Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R – Harrisonburg) noted, “Thanks to Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative working in partnership with the Commonwealth and Rockingham County, we have another expanding business creating Virginia-grown products and providing more job opportunities for our citizens. I am encouraged by this and other indicators of strong economic growth in the Shenandoah Valley, and I am pleased by the significant impact this announcement will have for our local producers.
“I am thrilled to see the AFID program being utilized once again to support important economic development projects in the Shenandoah Valley region, and I congratulate the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative for their growth and investments,” said Delegate R. Steven Landes (R – Weyers Cave), who sponsored the legislation creating the AFID program in 2012. “With agriculture being Virginia’s largest private industry, I believe it is important to do all we can to promote further economic development and job creation efforts in the industry throughout the Commonwealth. I am pleased to work with Governor McAuliffe’s administration to further support and strengthen this vital economic sector.”
Since the beginning of the McAuliffe administration, 437 economic development deals have been closed in Virginia with more than $7.7 billion in capital investment, more than twice the amount of capital investment brought to the Commonwealth in any Governor's first 18 months in office.