Richmond -- Governor Terry McAuliffe today awarded his administration's first economic development grant from the Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) for a business expansion project that Montague Farms, Inc. has undertaken at the company's Windsor facility in Isle of Wight County.
Montague, a family-owned producer and exporter of specialty soybeans based in Center Cross, will invest more than $600,000 to purchase a new state-of-the-art packaging line, soybean testing lab, and warehouse facility. The $14,100 AFID grant was matched by Isle of Wight.
In addition to the creation of three new jobs at the facility, the company will now be able to sell into the highly-regulated, but lucrative sprouting soybean market of South Korea and beyond. To serve this new market, the company will purchase more than 4,000 metric tons of Natto soybeans from Virginia producers over the next three years.
"By collaborating with our private sector partners and local governments, we can make the make smart, targeted investments needed to position our economy for new opportunities, especially in agriculture, Virginia's largest industry," McAuliffe said. "Secondly, with a focus on increasing the amount of products shipped from Virginia into the global marketplace, we can make Virginia the East Coast capital for agricultural and forestry product exports and return more jobs, revenue and prosperity to our rural communities."
Farmers in the region will now have the opportunity of supplying Montague with product and receiving a premium for their efforts, helping them diversify their farming operations while sending more money to the bottom line. Montague owns and operates a grain storage and conditioning facility in Windsor and in Center Cross.
"More than ninety percent of the world's customers lie outside the borders of the United States, so if we are to see continued growth in Virginia's agricultural sector it is imperative that we continue seeking new export opportunities in the global marketplace," said Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.
A 2013 economic impact study conducted by the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia's largest industries, with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually. Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry induces over $17 billion. The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.