Ag sector boasts big growth for N.C. in 2013
In another first, ACX Goldsboro is the first major hay export processing facility on the east coast of the US. ACX Pacific Northwest plans to invest $4.7 million over the next 3 years and will create 38 new jobs. The company plans on purchasing hay products direct from local farmers and will export to the Middle East and other global regions from Wayne County through the Port of Norfolk.
In recent months, Mt. Olive Pickle Company (Wayne County) announced a 77,000 square foot expansion to its production and warehouse space. The $4.1 million expansion will provide infrastructure to accommodate two new production lines. When finished the facility will be a total of 385,000 square feet. From a modest beginning in 1926, Mt. Olive has become the bestselling brand of pickles in the country.
Even more food processing jobs are coming to eastern NC thanks to Natural Blend Vegetable Dehydration’s investment in Pitt County. The company announced it will create 57 jobs and invest more than $12 million over the next 3 years in Farmville. Natural Blend is being developed by Ham Produce Company, Inc. for the purpose of dehydrating significant quantities of quality vegetables for use as an ingredient in various food products.
Two major ag companies in Lenoir County have experienced growth recently. Sanderson Farms is now the largest employer in the county with more than 1,600 employees. Additionally, Smithfield Foods now employs over 600 and has completed their expansion of an additional 190,000 square foot facility, creating over 300 new jobs with $85.5 million in capital investment. In September, Shauanghui International and Smithfield Foods announced the completion of their strategic combination, creating a leading Global Pork enterprise with expectations that exports to China to increase as a result.
The most recent announcement in the booming value-added ag sector was in Nash County. Carolinas Gateway Partnership and Nutkao USA, Inc. announced in December the company will be locating its nut butter manufacturing operation in Rocky Mount and it is expected to invest more than $17 million over the next 5 years and create 100 jobs.
With expectations for the world population to increase by another one billion people in the next decade, the region should continue to experience significant investment and employment growth in food production/processing in addition to the production/processing of woody biomass to satisfy the growing demand for ‘drop-in’ liquid biofuels by military and civilian activities.
For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit www.nceast.org.