Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Shenandoah Valley Organic (SVO), a family-owned organic chicken company, will establish a second 75,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in the City of Harrisonburg. The new facility will increase production capacity and retail packaging, allowing for more product availability in leading grocery stores across the United States. Virginia successfully competed with West Virginia for the project, which will create 110 new jobs.
“Shenandoah Valley Organic is a homegrown Virginia company that has thrived in Harrisonburg since its founding in 2014,” said Governor Northam. “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, Shenandoah Valley Organic 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.
“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 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.”
“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.”
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. Governor 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.
“The City of Harrisonburg is excited to partner with Shenandoah Valley Organic (SVO) as they expand their local facilities to meet the growing consumer demand for organic chicken,” said Deanna Reed, Mayor of the City of Harrisonburg. “Our economic development team worked with Corwin Heatwole six years ago when SVO was just an idea and a dream. Today, this dynamic company has over 500 employees in Harrisonburg and is poised to add 110 more. We are proud of the company’s rapid growth and its commitment to Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley.”
“Thanks to Shenandoah Valley Organic in partnership with the Commonwealth and the City of Harrisonburg, we have another expanding agricultural business providing more job opportunities for our citizens,” said Senator Mark Obenshain. “I commend Shenandoah Valley Organic for its continued success in the poultry industry and its economic investment in the Shenandoah Valley.”
“Once again, our agriculture industry has proven to be the Valley’s greatest asset for economic development and job creation,” said Delegate Tony Wilt. “Thanks to Shenandoah Valley Organic for continuing to invest in Harrisonburg. In these uncertain times, over 100 new jobs is welcome news.”