Shenandoah Valley Organic (SVO), a family-owned organic chicken company, will establish a second 75,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art poultry plant in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The new facility will increase production capacity and retail packaging, allowing for more product availability in leading grocery stores across the United States. It is estimated that the new facility will create 110 new jobs.
According to a press release from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia successfully competed with West Virginia for the project
“Shenandoah Valley Organic is a homegrown Virginia company that has thrived in Harrisonburg since its founding in 2014,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a press “As a leading agricultural region, the Shenandoah Valley is a natural fit for a business like SVO that partners with family farms, which remain the backbone of the local economy. This significant expansion speaks forcefully about the Commonwealth’s strong infrastructure, dedicated workforce, and bright economic future.”
Founded by sixth-generation farmer Corwin Heatwole, SVO is committed to promoting and protecting generational farming by partnering with independent family farmers to responsibly raise organic chicken. By shifting decision-making and ownership back to the hands of farmers, the business model creates a sustainable livelihood for generational family farmers. Headquartered in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, every product is traceable back to the nearly 70 family farms.
“We chose Harrisonburg to expand because this community and city is a big part of our success to date,” said Corwin Heatwole, CEO of Shenandoah Valley Organic. “Our production team and our farmers live here and come with tremendous experience in the poultry industry. We are fortunate to live in the beautiful Valley, but are close to large East Coast markets where organic poultry demand is high.”
Other state officials expressed their happiness with SVO’s decision to expand in Virginia. According to Northam, the company also considering building the new facility in West Virginia.
“Since establishing its manufacturing operation in the City of Harrisonburg, Shenandoah Valley Organic has become a valued partner and employer in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Food and beverage processing are the heart of the Shenandoah Valley’s manufacturing sector and the region offers a ready-to-work talent pool in the industry. We thank SVO for reinvesting in Virginia, and we look forward to its next chapter of growth.”
“I commend Shenandoah Valley Organic on the growth and innovation they have brought to Virginia’s poultry industry, the largest sector of the Commonwealth’s largest private industry, agriculture,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “In 2013, we were proud to help SVO get started with one of our first AFID awards. Today, we are even prouder to support this major expansion with our largest ever AFID award. The partnerships this project highlights, between farmer and processor as well as the private and public sectors, are great examples of how we can help bring economic vitality and opportunity to all corners of the Commonwealth.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Harrisonburg, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Northam approved a performance-based grant of $800,000 from the Virginia Investment Performance program, an incentive that encourages capital investment by existing Virginia companies.
The governor also approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund and a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which supports projects sourcing Virginia-grown products, to assist the City of Harrisonburg with the project. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created. Funding and services to support Shenandoah Valley Organic’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.