|RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today that family-owned and operated Wholesome Foods, Inc. will expand its meat processing operation by adding a new, USDA-inspected slaughter facility to its Shenandoah County location. This project will create twelve new jobs and represent nearly $1.2 million of new investment at the long-standing food distribution company. The company plans to source nearly all of the livestock for the new facility from Virginia farms, creating an important new market for local cattle and hogs.
“As Virginia’s largest private industry, our agricultural sector draws its strength from the diversity of production and the entrepreneurial spirit of families like the Pences, whose company has served the Shenandoah community for more than 50 years,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I thank Wholesome Foods for its commitment to the Commonwealth and wish them success in the future serving the farmers and consumers of Virginia and beyond.”
“Virginia’s livestock producers benefit when family-owned companies with a strong commitment to local sourcing, like Wholesome Foods, make meaningful investments into the processing infrastructure,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “I am pleased that the Commonwealth could partner with Shenandoah County through the AFID program to support this important expansion of Virginia’s meat processing industry.”
“We are excited to grow our business with the help of the Commonwealth and Shenandoah County through the AFID program,” said Wholesome Foods President Wes Pence. “This expansion will increase our capacity, add jobs to our work force and provide a much needed service to the community and local farmers for years to come.”
“Wholesome Foods has been a family-owned staple of Shenandoah County’s business and agricultural scene for more than five decades. They’re a great example of entrepreneurialism, as the business has evolved from a start-up home delivery service to a robust food processing facility with two consumer market locations that serve our community today,” said Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors Chairman Karl Roulston. “We are proud to partner with them through this next stage of growth and as they continue to evolve to support the residents of Shenandoah County and enhance our local economy.”
“Growth of agribusiness is vital to Virginia’s economy, and this announced expansion by Wholesome Foods is good news,” said Senator Mark Obenshain. “I am pleased to see continued investments like this and commend Shenandoah County for its support of this family business and the farmers it serves.”
“For more than a half century, Wholesome Foods has served our region’s community and beyond with quality protein food products,” said Speaker of the House C. Todd Gilbert. “I applaud the Pence family for their commitment to continued growth in the community and support of our region’s livestock producers.”
Wholesome Foods was established in 1964 by Dean and Syvilla Pence as a home delivery service of poultry, meat and eggs to the Washington, D.C. market. The company has grown into a full-scale food distributor as it supplies wholesale accounts in the mid-Atlantic and provides local home consumers with a variety of meats and cheeses. The coronavirus pandemic caused backlogs at local meat processors that the company had relied on for beef and pork products. This spurred the company to add in-house slaughter capacity to complement their existing operation and expand their meat processing capabilities. By becoming vertically integrated, the company will be able to better control its meat processing schedule, reduce operating costs, increase production efficiencies, and reduce customer lead times.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Shenandoah County and the Shenandoah County Industrial Development Authority to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Governor Youngkin approved a $40,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which the County will match with local funds.
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