RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that Birdsong Peanuts, a cornerstone company of Virginia’s peanut industry for more than 100 years, will invest $25.1 million into its peanut shelling facility in the City of Suffolk. Birdsong’s investment to refurbish and automate its production lines will make its Suffolk facility one of the most modern and efficient of the company’s five shelling plants that will stretch from Virginia to Texas. In addition to winning this competitive expansion project, Birdsong is committing to additional growing opportunities for Virginia peanut producers for many years to come.
“When long-term corporate partners like Birdsong Peanuts reinvest in Virginia, it underscores that Virginia is open for business,” said Governor Youngkin. “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.’”
“Birdsong Peanuts helped make the Virginia peanut an iconic product shared around the globe, and we celebrate the company’s continued success and growth in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “This expansion is a strong testament to the City of Suffolk’s agricultural resources, access, and talent, and we look forward to the next chapter in Birdsong’s 100+-year history in Virginia.”
“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,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “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. I thank the Birdsong family for their commitment to the Commonwealth and look forward to their next 100 years of growth and success.”
“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,” said Charles Birdsong, President, Birdsong Peanuts.
“We look forward to working with Birdsong Peanuts on their expansion in Suffolk with the construction of this improved peanut processing facility. The continued investment from Birdsong Peanuts affirms their longstanding commitment to our city,” said Mayor Mike Duman. “Peanuts have been an integral part of Suffolk for over a century, and thanks to companies like Birdsong Peanuts, Suffolk will continue in our rich history of food manufacturing.”
“Birdsong Peanuts has always been a pillar in the City of Suffolk. Their investment is very timely and fruitful for farmers and the Suffolk community,” said Delegate Clinton Jenkins. “This upgrade will contribute to our economy, create economic development, and provide employment opportunities. We are thankful and excited for Birdsong Peanuts’ rich history and commitment to the Commonwealth.”
Founded in 1914 by T.H. Birdsong in Courtland, Virginia, Birdsong Peanuts was asked by the founder of Planters Peanuts to relocate near his factory in Suffolk in 1939. That facility, which was so crucial to the early success of Planters Peanuts, remains in operation today and has since been joined by dozens of other Birdsong peanut buying, shelling, shipping, and cold storage facilities across 11 states.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with the City of Suffolk to secure the project for Virginia. The Governor approved a performance-based grant of $250,000 from the Virginia Investment Performance Grant, an incentive that encourages continued capital investment by existing Virginia companies, as well as a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to assist the City of Suffolk with the project.
–Michael Wallace, VDACS