Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey joined Escambia County officials in Atmore to mark the start of construction on the Coastal Growers LLC peanut shelling facility, which will provide a major boost to peanut farmers in the region.
The company — owned by a cooperative of farmers, most of them residing in Alabama – will build an $87 million shelling and storage facility on more than 60 acres in the Atmore Industrial Park.
Governor Ivey said the project is set to create 150 new, well-paying employment opportunities in the Southwestern Alabama community while providing a co-op opportunity to 100 peanut products across the state.
“I’m thrilled for the people of Atmore, and the surrounding area, to see this facility is ready to begin taking shape,” Governor Ivey said. “Our state has a storied tradition of peanut production, which provides an estimated $200 million to our economy.
“This will be a great addition to our state’s economy,” she added.
The Coastal Growers project was announced in September 2020.
The new facility, encompassing more than 400,000 square feet, will take about a year to build, according to Dothan’s Hollis & Spann Inc., which is leading the construction project.
Officials have said the new facility in Atmore will allow farmers to capture more profit from their own crops, giving them more control over their own operations. It’s expected to become a hub for peanut shelling in the region while also serving as a magnet for other businesses.
“The Coastal Growers facility will become a critical resource for peanut farmers in Alabama and beyond by helping them make their operations more sustainable and profitable,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“I look forward to seeing the significant impact that this project is going to deliver for farmers and for the region,” he added.
The Coastal Growers project stemmed from a broad-based partnership that included contributions from the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. UB Community Development LLC led efforts to secure financing, which included New Market Tax Credits and incentives.
“We are very proud and thankful here in Escambia County for this project, and what it will mean for our farmers across Alabama. Coastal Growers is not just about the jobs it will create at its shelling plant, but also about the better profit margins that will be realized by the farmers who send their product there,” said Jess Nicholas of Centerfire Economic, who serves as executive director of the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority.
“We are also especially thankful to Governor Ivey and her staff for giving us the tools we needed to land this project. Today was a big win for our state and will lead to further investment in this area soon,” he added.