$1.1 million investment, 20 new jobs as dairy grows, expands to cheeses;
First use of new state grant to support growth in agriculture.
BURNT CHIMNEY, Va. (December 17, 2012) – Homestead Creamery, known for its farm-fresh dairy products and back-in-fashion home delivery, plans to expand its facilities and introduce a line of cheeses as part of a $1.1 million expansion supported by a new state grant designed to support Virginia’s agricultural industry.
The expansion is expected to create 20 new full-time jobs over three years at the dairy’s Franklin County production facility.
Announcing the expansion at Homestead, Governor Bob McDonnell said, “Awarding the first-ever Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund 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. 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 will receive a $60,000 grant through the fund, established this year by the General Assembly as a new economic development tool to help incentivize the creation or expansion of businesses that use Virginia agricultural and forestry products, particularly in rural areas.
The expansion also is made possible by a $45,000 grant through the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and a Franklin County grant of $30,000. The company will also receive training assistance from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“Agriculture is big business in Franklin County, and we’re delighted to be the first locality in the Commonwealth with a business benefiting from a new state incentive program that recognizes the economic benefits and contributions of local farmers and growers,” said David Cundiff, chair of the Franklin County Board of Supervisors and a commissioner of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. “A strong and prosperous agricultural industry, coupled with manufacturing and services, helps us maintain a diversified economy that improves our quality of life.”
Agricultural product revenues totaled nearly $54 million in Franklin County, according to the latest data from 2007, up 40 percent over 2002. Revenues from milk and dairy product sales accounted for two-thirds of all agricultural sales activity in Franklin County.
Richard Huff, Franklin County Administrator added, “I’m pleased that we’re ending the year with yet another piece of good news for Franklin County’s economy.”
Homestead Creamery plans to invest in real estate, building improvements and expansion, and new equipment that will include two new home-delivery trucks, freezer, cooler, storage tanks for milk, pumping station, yogurt tank, cheese-making equipment, mixer for flavored milk, and an expanded sewage treatment system.
“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. These funds will positively affect our profitability and ability to sustain growth. We look forward to growing Homestead with traditional dairy methods that consumers are embracing as they seek all-natural products for their families.”
Starting in 2001, the creamery has been producing milk, butter and ice cream at its Burnt Chimney production facility and delivering it fresh to stores such as Kroger and Whole Foods and other retailers in Virginia, West Virginia North Carolina and Tennessee. The company also offers home-delivery.
Homestead sources products from 45 farms and orchards in Virginia to provide customers with high-quality, all-natural and great-tasting products. The milk is processed and bottled on site, and is typically on store shelves less than 48 hours later. Glass bottles ensure fresh taste and environmental friendliness.
In addition to milk, Homestead produces flavored milks, half-and-half, heavy cream, eggnog, and boiled custard, butter and ice cream.
About Homestead Creamery, Inc.
Homestead Creamery, Inc. is a producer and distributer of bottled milk, ice cream and other dairy products that also maintains a store featuring Virginia’s Finest and Virginia Grown products at its production facility in Burnt Chimney. The company distributes to a number of grocery and specialty stores, college dining facilities and also maintains home delivery service of their products and local produce. All of the milk, cream, eggs and produce used by Homestead in its products are 100 percent Virginia grown.
About the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund
The creation of the AFID was part of Governor McDonnell’s jobs-creation and economic development agenda during the 2012 session of the General Assembly. Funded at $1 million in each year of the biennium, the AFID is broken into two categories with $750,000 going to large grants to assist local efforts in expanding current or attracting new agriculture and forestry processing facilities using Virginia-grown products and $250,000 dedicated to small grants to assist localities in improving local economic development efforts relating to agribusiness.