Century-old Birdsong Peanuts to modernize Suffolk plant
Gov. Glenn Youngkin announces $25.1M investment
Suffolk-based Birdsong Peanuts is investing $25.1 million to modernize it Suffolk shelling facility, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Tuesday.
The company plans to refurbish and automate production lines at the Suffolk plant. It is also committing to additional growing opportunities for Virginia peanut producers, a news release said. Additional details about those opportunities and whether the investment includes new jobs were not immediately available Tuesday.
“When long-term corporate partners like Birdsong Peanuts reinvest in Virginia, it underscores that Virginia is open for business,” Youngkin said in a statement. “Birdsong has positively impacted the region’s economy and Virginia’s agriculture industry for over a century. This market leader facility expansion reinforces Suffolk’s reputation as the ‘peanut capital of the world.’”
Founded in 1914 by T.H. Birdsong in Courtland, Birdsong moved its operations to Suffolk in 1939 after the company’s shelling plant burned, and Planters Peanuts founder Amedeo Obici requested that Birdsong relocate near his factory there, according to the company’s website. Birdsong now operates shelling plants in Virginia, Georgia and Texas, and partners with farmers in 11 states to sell peanuts worldwide.
“Birdsong Peanuts chose to reinvest in Suffolk because our corporate headquarters is here, there is a thriving peanut producer base here, there is good access to domestic and export markets, and also because of the region’s talented workforce,” Birdsong President Charles Birdsong said.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Suffolk to secure the project and Youngkin approved a performance-based grant of $250,000 from the Virginia Investment Performance Grant, an incentive that encourages continued investment by existing Virginia companies. A $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund also helped finalize the deal.
“The Virginia peanut is perhaps the commonwealth’s most famous contribution to world cuisine and few families have done more than the Birdsongs in bringing Virginia peanuts to the world,” Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr said. “It is always a cause to celebrate when we see companies make major investments into the infrastructure that supports Virginia’s farmers, but this is especially true when that investment is being made by a homegrown, family-owned business in support of one of our most iconic agricultural products.”