Homestead Creamery Inc will invest $1.1 million to expand and upgrade its Burnt Chimney, Virginia, facility, with plans to almost double its workforce.
The expansion project will add warehousing and cold storage space and production capacity for new dairy products, including cheese, yogurt and sour cream at 7254 Booker T Washington Highway, The new production lines and processing capacity will enable the company to balance its milk supply and increase the volume and variety of products offered through all of its distribution channels. Homestead estimates more than 45 agricultural producers in the Commonwealth will be impacted by the project as a result of increased production at its operations in Franklin County.
As an incentive Gov. Bob McDonnell awarded the state’s first grant from the Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to Homestead Creamery, Inc. "Awarding the first-ever AFID grant to a company like Homestead Creamery, with its full commitment to Virginia farmers and Virginia grown products, is the perfect way to launch this new program from my administration's economic development and jobs creation agenda," said McDonnell. "Homestead is just the type of company for which this program was built, one that can take the high quality agricultural products Virginia has to offer and turn them into value-added products consumers are seeking. I'm certain the AFID will provide further growth opportunities for Virginia's diverse agricultural economy, the Commonwealth's largest industry."
"Homestead Creamery is best known for delicious ice cream and all natural, fresh milk and dairy products," said president Donnie Montgomery, a third-generation dairy farmer. "On behalf of our company, I thank the governor, our local elected officials and the tobacco commission for their support and confidence. We look forward to growing Homestead with traditional dairy methods that consumers are embracing as they seek all-natural products their families."
"The creation of AFID was about incentivizing new and expanding agricultural processing facilities, but it was also about generating additional revenue and growth opportunities for Virginia farmers," said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Todd P. Haymore. "The Homestead Creamery project is exciting because with the assistance of AFID, Homestead is going to be able to increase its product offerings and double its employment numbers while also increasing its purchases from area farmers, helping those individual farming operations realize greater revenue in the process as well."
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Agriculture and Forestry Development Services worked with Homestead and Franklin County to finalize the grant. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership also provided additional analysis of the grant proposal, as well as assisting AFDS and the Agriculture and Forestry Secretariat with counsel in launching the AFID program. Governor McDonnell approved a $60,000 grant from the AFID to assist Franklin County with the project. Matching funds are being provided through a $45,000 grant from the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund, administered by the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, and a Franklin County grant of $30,000.