Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing Plans Brunswick County, Virginia, Processing & Packing Complex
Old Dominion Organic Farms, a member of Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing, will operate the facility. Over the next three years the facility is expected to process nearly $24 million Virginia-grown vegetables, approximately 80 percent of which will be certified organic. The location will support more than 22 farmers located in Amelia, Brunswick, Dinwiddie, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Prince George, and Surry Counties during its first season.
“Access to a facility that provides efficient packing, cooling, and distribution of vegetables for local farmers will create access to markets previously unavailable to them,” said Jordan Brandon of Old Dominion Organic Farms. “This was the key component farmers were lacking to capitalize on the land, equipment, labor, and farming experience they already possess.”
To assist the county in securing this project for Virginia, Governor Northam awarded Brunswick’s Industrial Development Authority a $400,000 Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Facility Grant, the county’s first-ever Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development award. The project is also supported by a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
The architectural and engineering work needed to move the project forward was supported through a $35,000 Planning Grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund awarded in June to Brunswick and Lunenburg Counties.
“As the Commonwealth’s largest and oldest industry, agriculture is an integral part of Virginia’s economic well being, especially in rural areas,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “I commend the members of Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing and all of the public and private sector partners who have made this project a reality. They have set an example for how we can all work together to support Virginia agriculture and the communities that rely on this important industry.”
Since 2001, the price and volume of tobacco sales in Virginia have decreased by nearly half, forcing many Southern Virginia farmers to find new markets or close down their operations, the Governor’s Office said. By contrast, the market for organic produce has boomed over that same period, with annual growth frequently exceeding 10 percent. Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing is taking advantage of this market opportunity by leveraging its existing land and labor assets, investing in organic certification, and partnering with farmers across the region to provide wholesalers with a stable and abundant supply of organic and conventional produce.
“Embracing innovation and exploring new opportunities in agriculture is key to the growth and prosperity of rural communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am pleased that Brunswick County’s first Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development award is being used to partner with Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing to create new markets and support local farmers and producers with creative ways to maintain and grow their farming operations.”
The Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked closely with Brunswick and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to secure the project for the Commonwealth.
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