Governor McAuliffe Announces 105 New Jobs in the Town of Berryville and Clarke County
~Handsome Brook Farm, LLC to Invest More Than $6 Million to Establish Egg Processing Operation in Virginia~
RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that New York-based Handsome Brook Farm, LLC will invest $6.4 million to establish a new pasture raised egg processing operation in the Town of Berryville and Clarke County. The business has committed to purchasing over $50 million in Virginia-sourced eggs over the next three years, and plans to contract with over 100 Virginia farms. Virginia successfully competed against Pennsylvania for the project, which will create 105 new jobs. This is the largest jobs announcement for Clarke County on record, and the first economic development announcement in Clarke County during Governor McAuliffe’s administration.
“Recruiting Handsome Brook Farm’s new egg processing facility is a huge win for the Town of Berryville, Clarke County, and the Commonwealth’s thriving agriculture industry,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I commend Handsome Brook Farm for choosing to invest in Virginia, as this will not only create jobs here in Berryville and Clarke County, but will also give our farmers a new market for pasture-raised eggs. This project highlights the vital role agriculture plays in the Commonwealth and we will continue to support these kinds of entrepreneurial project as we build the new Virginia economy.
The New York based Handsome Brook Farm, LLC will purchase the old Winchester Cold Storage facility in Berryville and convert it into an egg processing facility. In 2015, Inc. Magazine cited Handsome Brook Farm as the fastest growing privately held egg company and the 14th fastest growing food company in the country. Handsome Brook Farm provides customers in 48 states with pasture raised eggs. The company’s high-quality eggs are available at many major retailers, including Harris Teeter, Kroger, Publix, and Wegman’s. Handsome Brook Farm is the only provider of 100% pasture raised eggs certified by the American Humane Association.
“Handsome Brook Farm’s innovative ideas and exceptional product make it a model for the role that agribusiness will play in helping to build the new Virginia economy,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “The company’s commitment to buy Virginia-grown eggs will create new, robust market opportunities for Virginia’s farmers to diversify their on-farm income by adding pasture raised egg production to their portfolio. Indeed, Handsome Brook Farm's investment will provide a significant boost to Virginia’s egg industry, which had farm cash receipts alone of almost $115 million in 2014.”
“Handsome Brook Farm is a welcome addition to Clarke County and to the agricultural sector in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “We are pleased to provide the company with the tools to invest in a quality workforce and look forward to working with them in the future. Congratulations to the team, county and town for this new operation.”
The Commonwealth is partnering with Clarke County, the Town of Berryville, and Handsome Brook Farm, LLC on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. To help secure the project for Virginia, Governor McAuliffe approved a $200,000 grant from the AFID Fund, which Clarke County and Berryville are matching with local funds. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership assisted in securing this project for the Commonwealth, and will provide funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
Betsy Babcock, Founder of Handsome Brook Farm, stated, “We are delighted to be in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia on this exciting project, and look forward to working together to further agricultural development in the Commonwealth.”
“Berryville is thrilled to welcome its newest corporate citizen, Handsome Brook Farm,” said Wilson Kirby, Mayor of the Town of Berryville. “Governor McAuliffe and Secretary Haymore went to bat for our community and helped ensure Handsome Brook Farm’s local investment of nearly six and a half million dollars and the creation of over one hundred new jobs in Berryville. The level of cooperation between state and local government and private enterprise was extraordinary.”
“Clarke County and Berryville have worked diligently for decades to grow in a sustainable fashion while preserving our rural character,” added David Weiss, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Clarke County. “Handsome Brook Farm’s commitment to sustainability and innovation in agriculture is a perfect fit with Clarke. The incentive package that Governor McAuliffe’s team put together made this investment in our community come to fruition. This was a great team effort.”
Delegate Dave LaRock added, “This business is a perfect fit for Clarke County, and will be a great boost to the already vibrant rural agriculture economy in this beautiful part of Virginia. The legislature has worked hard to promote the rural economy, including vineyards, farm wineries and breweries, and this project adds a great new opportunity for local farmers. I look forward to ongoing growth in local agriculture.”