USA — Rockingham Cooperative, a Virginia based farmer-owned cooperative, is set to invest US$17 million to upgrade and expand its grain handling and feed manufacturing operations at its Dayton mill in Rockingham County, Virginia, US.

Through this expansion, the cooperative has committed to purchasing more than US$11.6 million or 30,000 tonnes of soybeans, corn and barley over the next three years.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Rockingham County and Rockingham Cooperative to secure this project for the Commonwealth.

Virginia Governor, Glenn Youngkin approved a US$100,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Rockingham County will match with local funds.

“This AFID grant, combined with the major investment from Rockingham Cooperative, serves as a statement that the Commonwealth of Virginia and Rockingham Cooperative are committed to preserving and advancing the agricultural industry in Virginia,” said Keith Turner, feed division manager for Rockingham Cooperative.

Driving the cooperative’s decision to expand were surging out-of-state demand for its custom feed blends, as well as a constant focus on keeping feed costs low for its members through ongoing improvements in operational efficiencies.

These efficiencies will be further bolstered with the installation of an on-site solar energy system capable of supplying low-cost, green energy for up to 90% of the mill’s needs.

Founded in 1921 to save Shenandoah Valley farmers money on feed and fertilizer, the Rockingham Cooperative now boasts 5,156 member farms across twenty-five states, enjoying annual revenues of nearly US$130 million.

Headquartered in Rockingham County, the co-op is a staple for the Valley, which is the commonwealth’s leading agricultural region, accounting for more than a third of all agricultural sales in Virginia, the release said.

This project will benefit both Virginia grain producers, as well as the thousands of farmers across Virginia and beyond who rely on Rockingham Cooperative’s quality feed products and competitive prices, government officials said.

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