Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced that Shenandoah Processing LLC, a newly-formed, locally-owned company located in Harrisonburg, will reopen a former Pilgrim's Pride poultry processing facility and create 102 new full-time equivalent (FTEs) positions. During the three-year project, Shenandoah Processing will invest more than $2.2 million in capital improvements and purchase an additional $160 million of Virginia grown poultry from Virginia growers over the next three years. The Shenandoah Processing facility will serve the growing market for organically raised and "all-natural" chicken.
Governor McDonnell said, "Shenandoah Processing is a tremendous example of the entrepreneurial underpinnings of Virginia agriculture. Starting first as a poultry grower, Shenandoah Processing owner Corwin Heatwole is building on his experience in opening a processing facility that will provide a new market for other growers and create jobs in the Harrisonburg area.”
Heatwole also is the owner of Shenandoah Valley Organics, a poultry growing operation. In addition to processing for that business , the facility will provide custom processing services to individual farmers and growers who wish to have poultry prepared for retail sale. The facility will offer five end products: whole birds, boneless breasts, leg quarters, paws, and basic cut-up. The facility start-up will involve Shenandoah Processing leasing the facility and up-fitting with processing equipment. The facility will go from processing approximately 20,000 birds a day in year one to 30,000 birds a day in year two to 50,000 birds a day in year three.
Shenandoah Valley Organics will work with poultry growers in the Central Shenandoah Valley to source their birds for Shenandoah Processing, targeting production of almost 11 million, high-quality, organic chickens in the first three years. In many instances, growers will be able to use existing poultry houses that are currently out of production in order to serve the new demand. By year three, Shenandoah Processing is expecting to require the full-time use of 106 poultry houses and provide opportunities for up to 70 farmers.
The President of Shenandoah Processing, Corwin Heatwole, said, "We believe there is a significant demand for certified organic/humanly raised chicken products. This awareness will only increase. We are excited to be bringing this project to the Valley and know it will help create a source of income for many families here in the Valley. One of the most important parts of this project is the life that will be brought back to many poultry houses that are currently out of production. We greatly appreciate the support that has been felt from locals, Harrisonburg, and the State."
Source: Gov. Bob McDonnell