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Meat Processing for Virginia

02 January 2015

US - Seven Hills Food is to open a meat processing plant in the City of Lynchburg in Virginia.

The company, a locally-sourced meat processing operation, will invest $3 million and create 43 new jobs in Lynchburg, while committing to purchase 100 per cent Virginia-grown beef and pork.

The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with the City of Lynchburg and Seven Hills Food on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (pictured) said: “I am pleased to announce Seven Hills Foods’ new investment in Lynchburg, which creates new jobs and provides an important new market for agricultural producers across the state.

“It also allows a long-shuttered meat processing facility to come back to life, generating additional tax dollars for Lynchburg and new revenue streams for the region. Indeed, this operation and its statewide impact represent the type of investments we continue to leverage to build the New Virginia Economy and capitalize on the significant economic impact that Virginia agriculture has throughout the Commonwealth.”

Seven Hills Food will invest in the building improvements and equipment needed to renovate the former Dinner Bell Meat processing facility in Lynchburg into a medium-scale, beef and pork processing facility.

When complete, the plant will be one of the largest beef and pork processing operations in Virginia.

Seven Hills Food will fill an important meat processing role for producers across the state, processing meat for its own label and private labels, in addition to providing custom processing services to larger customers.

“Seven Hills Food’s new investment in Lynchburg is a game-changer for our Virginia beef and pork producers, addressing the scarcity in the market for local meats and processing facilities,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore.

“This operation will provide a major new custom processing option for producers in the region and bring an important part of Virginia’s meat processing infrastructure back to life, creating an asset for the industry for decades to come. I’m pleased the Governor’s AFID Fund could support the project and Lynchburg’s commitment to it.”

Seven Hills Food owner Ryan Ford said: “My vision to give consumers across the state better access to the beef and pork raised here in Virginia has come to life today thanks to the tremendous support of the City of Lynchburg and Governor McAuliffe’s economic development team. It’s been exciting to work with these partners to transform a venerable plant into a state-of-the-art facility, and we’re looking forward to working with Virginia producers and becoming operational in summer 2015.”

The new investment will allow Seven Hills Food to operate an advanced, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected meat processing and packaging facility with a mission to supply demand for locally-raised, produced, and processed healthy food products.

The company is committing to 100 per cent Virginia-grown sourcing for its entire operation, with intended purchases of 12,000 Virginia cattle and hogs over the next three years.

The Virginia cattle, calf, and hog industries generate almost half-billion dollars alone in farm cash receipts.

“This project not only breathes new life into a long-shuttered facility but also introduces a new company to Lynchburg, injecting millions in capital investment and machinery and tools,” said Mike Lucado, chair of the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority.

“The AFID grant and matching funds from the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority will support a complete and comprehensive renovation of the facility so that it can operate efficiently and under USDA inspection for the next chapter of its life.”

“This project will redevelop a one hundred year old property into a state-of-the art processing and packaging facility, unlocking Virginia’s local meat processing bottleneck,” said Michael A. Gillette, mayor of the City of Lynchburg.

“Seven Hills Food will establish the City of Lynchburg as a major force in Virginia’s local food economy and support synergy business opportunities for food processing and distribution in the Hill City.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with the City of Lynchburg to secure this expansion for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $250,000 grant from the AFID Fund to assist the City of Lynchburg with the project. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The company is also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

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