Highland County Agricultural Center Reaches One Million Dollar Goal
Monterey, VA – The Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center is now one giant step closer to becoming a reality. Agricultural Center board member Lloyd Bird talks about the investment drive that recently reached its goal.
“The last week of December we did wrap up the Equity Drive” says Bird. “We raised a million dollars, 200 shares at 500.00 a share, primarily from folks within the four county region. Probably 70% or greater are agricultural producers.”
Over 70 livestock producers from Highland, Bath, Pendleton and Pocahontas counties have invested in the project. With a $480,000 loan from the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development program already in hand, the Agricultural Center board now has the capital to build the center on land located about 5 miles north of Monterey.
“Now that we’ve raised the money, we’re quickly moving to the next big project which is to get this thing built” says Bird. “Now that we have reached this point and the deepest, darkest point of winter, it gives us the opportunity to get the bids in while the ground is frozen and get right on this as soon as the weather breaks and we can start digging footers and get the structure up. We’d like to get the bid packages out in the very early part of February.”
The Agricultural Center Board his hoping to involve local contractors and builders in the construction phase of the project providing work for area residents. When the facility opens, it is expected to have several full-time employees.
“I believe it will have at least four employees working year round” he says. “The business plan calls for some highs and lows and through the peaks we may have some seasonal help.”
After the Agricultural center opens and begins processing livestock, there are likely to be other business opportunities created such as retail outlets selling meat from local grass-fed livestock. Locally grown food is becoming very popular as more and more people want to know where their food is coming from and how it is being produced. The idea that you should “know your farmer, know your food” is now widely accepted.
The Agricultural Center board hopes to begin construction in mid-March and have the center open for business by September.