Atmore, AL – Rural Development Partners allocated $15 million in New Markets Tax Credits to farmer-owned Coastal Growers LLC for the construction of a new peanut shelling facility in Atmore, Alabama. This investment mitigated farmer risk, created jobs, and induced catalytic economic opportunities in a great community. The new operation created 130 quality jobs at the plant, 125 new farmer-supported jobs, 95 construction jobs, and economic opportunities that are stabilizing the region.
RDP’s allocation purchased real estate and equipment for the new 475,000 SF facility which was completed in time for the 2021 peanut harvest, and is capable of producing 200,000 tons of shelled peanuts a year. The Coastal Growers project allowed peanut farmers to vertically integrate through ownership of the value-added shelling process, mitigating the risks of fluctuating commodity prices and industry consolidation for increased farmer profitability of 30-35%. Stagnant peanut prices and rising input costs put great financial strain on local farmers. Peanut farmers within a 200-mile radius including Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Georgia creatively took control of their future by organizing Coastal Growers LLC.
“With commodity prices at such depressing levels, we as growers have been open to considering anything that might give us a better opportunity to financially survive. This, our investors believe, will give farmers the best chance to enhance earnings and have a sustainable family farm.” – Joe Parker, owner-member of Coastal Growers LLC
The Coastal Growers LLC project aligns great with RDP’s mission to create quality jobs, spur economic development, and workforce training opportunities in severely distressed census tracts. The investment is helping to spur catalytic economic growth in a community excited for revitalization and expansion opportunities.
“Rural Development Partners is excited to support quality job creation that benefits local farmers and uplifts the entire region. I applaud this group for their amazing dedication and perseverance to mold a great idea into an enormously impactful reality.” – Jonathan Klaassen, RDP CEO
RDP’s Community Investment Program
RDP and Coastal Growers awarded a $150,000 matching grant to the Pride of Atmore Project as part of RDP ’s Community Investment Program. This was the last link of funding the community needed for a multi-faceted renovation which included a multi-functional educational space and restoration of a historic landmark.
Many students in this rural community did not have the luxury of computers or access to the internet. The renovation will provide students of all ages with the technology and tools needed to navigate today’s virtual classroom, while providing multifaceted educational opportunities for the performing arts, workforce training through the experience of helping to run the recording studio, and much more.
Another phase of the project is to restore the historic landmark, Strand Theatre, once a cornerstone of this community. The renovations are creating excitement and catalytic impact as businesses return to the community in anticipation of the revitalization already taking hold!