Republished from Business Alabama, By Erica Joiner West
Coastal Growers LLC plans to build an $87 million peanut shelling and storage plant in Atmore, bringing 100 jobs to the area. The plant will be built on 60 acres in the Atmore Industrial Park.
“The Coastal Growers facility in Atmore will become a vital resource for peanut farmers in Alabama and beyond by helping to make their operations more sustainable and profitable,” said Gov. Kay Ivey.
Coastal Growers is owned by a cooperative of farmers, most of them residing in Alabama. Paul Turner, an attorney representing the company, said the average wage in the plant will be more than $17 per hour for the 100-plus full-time workers. In addition, temporary workers will be needed during peak shelling time.
“We are excited to announce this project, to bring peanut shelling to south Alabama and to bring economic benefit to hard-working farmers of our state who so desperately need it,” Turner said.
Joe Parker, owner and general manager of Summerdale Peanut in Baldwin County and a member of Coastal Growers, said, “The peanuts we have in this area are among the highest quality available, yet we really had no infrastructure for shelling in this area.”
Baldwin County farmer Mark Kaiser said the new plant will allow local farmers to capture more of the profit off their crops.
“This facility will be owned by the farmers who use it, and they’ll keep those profits themselves,” said Kaiser of Seminole, who serves as Alabama Farmers Federation District 12 director. “That’s good for both the farmers and for the immediate area, because the money will just keep turning over locally.”
Jess Nicholas of Centerfire Economic, who also serves as executive director of Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, said he expects other businesses will come to the area because of this investment.
“Shelling operations tend to attract other businesses in this sector and also spur development in infrastructure and other areas. We expect it to have a positive effect on the Port of Mobile as well,” Nicholas said.
Hollis & Spann Inc. of Dothan will head up the construction efforts on the project. The new 400,000-square-foot facility will take about a year to build. UB Community Development LLC, a community development affiliate of United Bank, led efforts to secure financing for the project, utilizing New Market Tax Credits, incentives and traditional financing.