Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center Meat Processing Plant Closer To Start Of Construction
Monterey, VA – Several years of work toward the Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center meat processing facility are now heading toward the start of construction. Center board member Lloyd Bird of Highland County tells us how this project got started.
“This project originally was formed through a business incubation grant that came through the Highland Center and was awarded to Mad Maggies Farm” says Bird. “The feasibility study that came out of that showed that this region could benefit from a meat processing center.”
Bird says the capture area for the center is Highland and Bath Counties in Virginia and Pocahontas and Pendleton Counties in West Virginia. He goes on to describe the meat processing facility.
“It’s USDA certified; it’s located just north of Monterey on Route 220” he says. “That property has been acquired, zoned; there are pens already on the property [and] it’s ready for construction.”
Bird says it will process beef, sheep, swine, deer and possibly goats. A great deal of community effort has gone into the project so far.
“There have been dozens of people who’ve spent a lot of time and energy on this – literally thousands of man hours” he says. “To me it appears to be the nicest looking slaughterhouse facility I’ve ever seen – that’s not by accident. It’s important to the folks that have been behind this project from the beginning to have a facility that fits into out community and doesn’t detract from the landscape.”
The current plans call for a Phase One building of about 3900 square feet. Bird says one of the key design elements of the plant is expandability. It will start relatively small, but will have the necessary utility connections roughed in so the facility can grow as needed.
Board members feel that this meat processing plant will allow local producers to send high value meat to retailers in the Shenandoah Valley and other parts of Virginia and West Virginia. If successful, this could provide an economic stimulus to the local economy that will help support many farms in the four county area. This will also likely result in additional local business opportunities such as a meat market and will have many beneficial effects on the local economy.
The group hopes to start construction in the near future. For more information on the Agricultural Center contact Scott Smith at the Highland Center.