Tyson Foods to bring 376 jobs, $300 million in investment to Dan River Region

Tyson Foods will invest $300 million and bring 376 jobs to Cane Creek Centre Industrial Park, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.

The company will construct a 325,000-square-foot facility where they will cook, season, flash-freeze, package and ship out foods including Any’tizer Snacks, chicken nuggets, and other items.

“When corporate partners reinvest in the Commonwealth, it is a strong endorsement of the many attributes that make Virginia the best state for business,” Northam said in a prepared statement. “Tyson Foods has been a major employer in Virginia for more than five decades and continues its growth trajectory with this new operation in Danville-Pittsylvania County, creating hundreds of quality jobs for the citizens of Southern Virginia. We look forward to many years of success.”

The company is committing to buy 60 million pounds of Virginia-grown chicken over the next three years, the governor’s office said.

Average annual salaries for the positions will be around $40,000 to $45,000, said Pittsylvania County Economic Development Director Matt Rowe.

Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, Tyson Foods has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, ibp and State Fair.

“As consumers actively look to add more protein to their diets, Tyson is uniquely positioned as a category leader to to meet that growing demand,” Noelle O’Mara, president of prepared foods for Tyson Foods, said in a prepared statement. “Our continued focus on consumer-driven innovation will accelerate this momentum and our investment in Danville-Pittsylvania County will help drive the long-term growth of the iconic Tyson brand.”

Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has had a footprint in Virginia for more than 50 years and employs more than 2,000 people across the state in its hatchery, grain, and processing operations in the Glen Allen area in Henrico County and in Temperanceville on the Eastern Shore.

David Bray, president of poultry for Tyson Foods, said, “We’re thankful for the invitation to become a part of the city of Danville and Pittsylvania County communities. The location is appealing because of the strong support from both state and local leaders, as well as the viability of labor in the region.”

Rowe emphasized that the facility will not be a slaughterhouse. It’s a no-kill facility where raw product will be brought in, he said.

“This is really high-tech where the raw product is coming and we’re adding value to that raw product,” Rowe said Thursday.

Besides the construction jobs and those directly at the facility once it’s operational, the project will also bring indirect employment in sanitation and trucking, Rowe said.

Worker pay at the facility will be higher than usual for Pittsylvania County, he added.

“These jobs are substantially above the prevailing average wage for Pittsylvania County,” he said.

Also, Tyson is well-known for being active in the community, Rowe said.

Groundbreaking is expected in October or November, with project completion in early or mid-2023.

Delegate Danny Marshall, R-Danville, said the jobs and investment will help build the local tax base.

“We enthusiastically welcome Tyson to our region,” Marshall said in a prepared statement. “One of the best parts for our community is how well Tyson treats its employees. Tyson will be a great fit.”

Local incentives

On Wednesday morning, the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority approved a draft of a local performance agreement for the project during a special meeting. RIFA, a joint entity including Danville and Pittsylvania County, owns Cane Creek Centre Industrial Park.

The 3-0 vote passed a resolution for the agreement that would involve Tyson Foods bringing its facility to Cane Creek Centre Industrial Park.

The story of Tyson Foods is one of purpose, hard work, and innovation,” RIFA Board Chairman Sherman Saunders said in a prepared statement. “Those qualities have led the company to its position today as one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in its industry. I am excited to see what the future has in store for the company and the state-of-the-art facility that it will build here. We look forward to having a great relationship with Tyson Foods for a long time to come.”

Under the agreement, RIFA would provide a land grant worth about $2.06 million and would apply for and disburse state grants and a state loan.

RIFA would also provide an industrial enhancement grant of up to $10.3 million in the form of tax rebates of 70% for 10 years on real estate taxes, machine and tool taxes, and business personal property taxes.

The draft agreement states Danville, Pittsylvania County and RIFA would provide incentives to Tyson Foods in exchange for the company meeting performance conditions within a four-year period.

“It’s just a continuation of the momentum in this community,” Rowe said of the Tyson announcement. “It may be the largest single private investment the county has ever had.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Pittsylvania County, the city of Danville, RIFA, the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission to secure the project for the Commonwealth.

Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Warren said, “With this being one of the largest capital investments in our county to date, Tyson clearly sees and believes that Pittsylvania County, as well as our entire region, is a truly great place to do business.”

State funds

Northam approved a $3.048 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund and a $3 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Performance Grant, an incentive that encourages continued capital investment by existing Virginia companies, to assist Danville-Pittsylvania County with the project.

Northam also approved a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund that supports projects sourcing Virginia-grown products.

The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $1.5 million from the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund for the project.

Tyson is eligible to receive state benefits from the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created, as well as benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Support for Tyson Foods’ job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners.

Linda Green, executive director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, touted the area’s workforce and leaders’ investment in it.

“Tyson’s decision to locate a facility in Cane Creek Centre is a testament to the region’s workforce and leaders whose investments in a robust workforce pipeline, paired with the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, will catapult the success of employees in a highly automated food processing facility,” Green said.

Funding for the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program comes from the Northam administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to each company. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.

Register and Bee – John Crane