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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Homestead Creamery announces $1.1 million expansion
Company will introduce line of cheeses, yogurt
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Staff Photo by K.A. Wagoner: Gov. Bob McDonnell offers a toast Monday afternoon to the expansion of Homestead Creamery in Burnt Chimney. Above, from left, are county Administrator Rick Huff, Supervisors Chairman David Cundiff, Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore, Homestead President Donnie Montgomery, McDonnell, Del. Charles Poindexter, Del. Kathy Byron, state Sen. Bill Stanley and Mary Rae, deputy secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Virginia.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

Homestead Creamery in Burnt Chimney announced Monday that it will expand its facility and introduce a line of cheeses and yogurt as part of a $1.1 million expansion.

The expansion will create 20 new, full-time jobs over the next three years, according to Homestead Creamery President Donnie Montgomery.

Gov. Bob McDonnell visited the facility Monday afternoon to announce that Homestead Creamery has been chosen as the first recipient of a new state grant of $60,000 designed to support Virginia's agricultural industry.

"Awarding the first-ever Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) grant to a company like Homestead Creamery, with its full commitment to Virginia farmers and Virginia grown products, is the perfect way to launch this new program," McDonnell said.

Homestead sources products from 45 farms and orchards in Virginia to provide customers with high-quality, all-natural and great-tasting products, Montgomery said. The milk is processed and bottled on site and is typically on store shelves less than 48 hours later. Glass bottles ensure fresh taste and environmental friendliness, he added. 

"Homestead is just the type of company for which this program was built, one that can take the high-quality agricultural products Virginia has to offer and turn them into value-added products consumers are seeking," McDonnell added.

The governor thanked Montgomery for his confidence in Virginia and Franklin County and his willingness to expand his company.

"I thank you for your vision in creating your business," McDonnell told Montgomery. "Seventy-one percent of jobs in Virginia come from small businesses like this one."

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore also commended Montgomery on the company's commitment to providing quality products.

"Thank you for your entrepreneurial spirit," Haymore told Montgomery. "Just keep your products coming to Richmond. My family really, really enjoys your products."

The expansion also is made possible by a $45,000 grant from the Tobacco Commission and a Franklin County grant of $30,000. The company will also receive training assistance from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

"Agriculture is big business in Franklin County, and we're delighted to be the first locality in Virginia with a business benefiting from a new state incentive program that recognizes the economic benefits and contributions of local farmers and growers," said David Cundiff, chairman of the Franklin County Board of Supervisors and a member of the Tobacco Commission.

"I thank you for staying true to your roots here in Franklin County," Cundiff told Montgomery.

Agricultural product revenues totaled nearly $54 million in Franklin County, according to the latest data from 2007. Revenues from milk and dairy product sales accounted for two-thirds of all agricultural sales activity in Franklin County.

Homestead Creamery plans to invest in real estate, building improvements and expansion, and new equipment that will include two new home-delivery trucks, freezer, cooler, storage tanks for milk, pumping station, yogurt tank, cheese-making equipment, mixer for flavored milk, and an expanded sewage treatment system, Montgomery said.

"Homestead Creamery is best known for delicious ice cream and all-natural, fresh milk and dairy products," said Montgomery, a third-generation dairy farmer. "We look forward to growing Homestead with traditional dairy methods that consumers are embracing as they seek all-natural products for their families."

Starting in 2001, the creamery has been producing milk, butter and ice cream at its Burnt Chimney production facility and delivering it fresh to stores, such as Kroger and Whole Foods, and other retailers in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. The company also offers home delivery.

In addition to milk, Homestead produces flavored milks, half-and-half, heavy cream, eggnog and boiled custard, butter and ice cream.

"I'm pleased that we're ending the year with yet another piece of good news for Franklin County's economy," said Franklin County Administrator Rick Huff.

The creation of the AFID was part of McDonnell's jobs-creation and economic development agenda during the 2012 session of the General Assembly. Funded at $1 million in each year of the biennium, the AFID is broken into two categories with $750,000 going to large grants to assist local efforts in expanding current or attracting new agriculture and forestry processing facilities using Virginia-grown products and $250,000 dedicated to small grants to assist localities in improving local economic development efforts relating to agribusiness.

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