Perdue AgriBusiness plans $59M Chesapeake expansion
Expansion will increase soybean crushing capability
Perdue AgriBusiness will invest $59.1 million and expand operations in the city of Chesapeake, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced Thursday.
The company, an affiliate of Perdue Farms Inc., will modernize facilities and increase production of high protein soybean meal, soybean oil and hulls. The expansion will position Perdue to expand soybean crushing capability to include other high-oil content products, according to the release. Virginia competed with Maryland, North Carolina and Pennsylvania for the project.
The governor’s office did not say whether the expansion will lead to more jobs in Chesapeake. Perdue Farms employs more than 2,800 people in Virginia at its locations in Bridgewater, Prince George County, the Northern Neck area and Chesapeake.
The announcement came ahead of the Chesapeake’s state of the city update, also scheduled Thursday.
“Perdue’s decision to choose Chesapeake for its expansion just further highlights the many advantages our city has to offer businesses, from our location to our business climate,” Chesapeake Mayor Rick West said in a statement.
Perdue purchases 80% of Virginia’s soybeans and exports 72 million more tons annually through the Port of Virginia. The Chesapeake facility supplies crude degummed soybean oil to the the company’s Salisbury, Maryland, oil refinery for additional processing and sales to the food industry, as well as the global biodiesel industry.
Perdue buys grain from more than 700 Virginia farmers a year, providing a “strong local market for their crops,” Perdue AgriBusiness CEO Scott Fredericksen said. “Renovating and expanding our Chesapeake operations will allow us to increase local origination and improve our processing capabilities, as well as enhance logistical efficiencies across our supply chain to continue meeting customer demand. As a proud employer in the state, we look forward to many more years of success and growth at our operations in Chesapeake.”
The reinvestment is a “strong endorsement” in the state’s attributes, Youngkin said. “Perdue AgriBusiness is a valued employer in Chesapeake and a major contributor to Virginia farmers’ livelihoods, and we look forward to its continued growth trajectory with the modernization and expansion of this facility.”
“Virginia is home to some of the world’s most innovative and productive farmers. It has been their tireless work, continual investment in new and more efficient farming equipment, and embrace of technology that has kept the commonwealth’s agriculture sector growing and secure in its top position as the state’s largest private sector industry,” said state Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matt Lohr. “I commend Perdue for sharing this same commitment to innovation and investment in new equipment and technologies, because it is the diverse and global markets that facilities like this provide our farmers that drive the whole industry forward.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with the Chesapeake to secure the expansion. Youngkin also approved a $500,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Performance Grant, which encourages continued capital investment by existing Virginia companies, as well as a $450,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to assist Chesapeake with the project. The company is also eligible to apply for the Railroad Industrial Access Program through the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, subject to approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.