The family-owned Hidden Pines Meat Processing, LLC will begin providing meat processing services to the region’s livestock producers, Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a release last week. The company, which has been operating for more than 20 years, is expanding to year-round operations and adding USDA inspection services to meet surging consumer demand for locally produced meats. This expansion will lead to the creation of at least seven new jobs, nearly $500,000 of new investment and enable the company to process over 1,100 locally raised beef cattle, hogs, lambs, and goats each year. The project is being incentivized through a $40,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund.
“Virginia’s livestock producers have been clear, in order to serve their customers and grow their businesses, they need more local processing options for their animals. That’s why I’m thrilled that this Administration’s first AFID award is doing just that,” said Youngkin. “By partnering with forward-thinking counties like Madison, which understands the value of investing in their agricultural economy, to support the growth of a family-owned, farm-based business like Hidden Pines, we are bringing real benefit to Virginia’s hardworking farming community.”
“The pandemic has presented many challenges to Virginia’s agricultural community, this is especially true of those livestock producers whose livelihoods rely on being able to process and sell their animals locally. By making strategic investments like this to help grow the Commonwealth’s meat processing capacity, we are creating important new market opportunities for our farmers, as well as local options for our consumers,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “I want to thank Shawn and Ali for investing in Virginia agriculture and bringing this new and important service to the region’s farmers.”
“We feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity to provide quality meat processing services to the region and are hopeful that our ability to provide employment opportunities to our community, will have a positive impact,” said Hidden Pines Meat Processing owners Shawn and Ali Woodfolk. “We would especially like to thank Madison County, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Administration for their support in launching this project with us.”
Since 2003, owners Shawn and Ali Woodfolk have grown Hidden Pines Meat Processing to become one of the largest game processors in the state, offering customers a full-line of value-added products and serving as a major donor to Hunters for the Hungry, where sportsmen donate meat to people in need. In response to the pandemic-induced surge in demand for local meats, Hidden Pines plans to leverage its experience in meat processing and reputation for quality to grow from being just a seasonal game processor to a year-round meat processing operation. By offering USDA inspection services, farmers who have their animals processed there can sell into retail and wholesale markets. Since the pandemic began, many farmers are having to wait a year or more for a processing slot.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Madison County and the Madison County Economic Development Authority to secure this project for the Commonwealth. Created in 2012, the AFID Fund is administered by VDACS on behalf of the Governor and provides local governments a performance-based, economic development incentive to support new and expanding agriculture- and forestry-based businesses in their communities which the localities match with local funds. Since its inception, the AFID Facility Grant program has successfully awarded over $10 million to 115 businesses creating over 3,150 jobs, $1 billion in new investment, and commitments to purchase over $1.15 billion of Virginia-grown agriculture and forestry products.