PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – On Thursday morning, dozens gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of a Tyson Foods facility in Southside.
State and local leaders, including the Governor, who was back in town for the third time in the last six months, are calling the area’s largest capital investment in history a success story.
“Nobody around here complained. You picked yourself up, you dusted yourself off and brought jobs back to the area,” said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Northam is talking about the day Ikea, who employed nearly 400 workers, closed its facility in the Cane Creek Centre.
Within the next two years, several projects filled its place, bringing thousands of new jobs and millions in investments to Danville-Pittsylvania County.
“We are happy to welcome Tyson to our community,” said Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Warren.
The nation’s largest protein company is investing $300 million to build its third facility in the Commonwealth, which will bring in nearly 400 jobs.
“That’s 376 families that will have a better livelihood, that can put presents under the Christmas tree,” said Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission Executive Director Evan Feinman. “That’s the thing, we always have to focus our economic thinking around.”
Developers were competing for the project with a region in North Carolina. Tyson’s team decided the 325,000-square-foot facility will go in Cane Creek Centre Industrial Park.
“For those of us that grew up in rural Virginia, oftentimes, there’s a feeling you have to move away from home,” Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring said. “It’s nice when you don’t have to do that. You can stay and make your community stronger.”
Tyson foods will buy more than 60 million pounds of locally grown meat over the next three years, furthering the success of agriculture in the state and the partnership between Danville and Pittsylvania County.
“As long as we can continue to train the workforce, companies will continue to do well in Virginia,” Northam said.
Construction is expected to start within the next few months and be finished in early 2023.