Home Poultry cooperative gets $1.7M in assistance from state for egg production operation
Economy, Virginia

Poultry cooperative gets $1.7M in assistance from state for egg production operation

farmer with eggs hens poultry farm
(© Apiwat – stock.adobe.com)

A group of farmers have formed the Central Virginia Poultry Cooperative, Inc. in response to the closure of the Tyson Foods broiler facility in Glen Allen.

The cooperative will produce and sell wholesale cage-free premium table eggs to Dutch Country Organics in Indiana. Dutch Country recently executed a multi-year agreement with the Central Virginia Poultry Cooperative.

Details of the agreement have not yet been released. The cooperative expects to place the first laying hens in members’ converted broiler houses in April 2024.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and the Commonwealth Regional Council to secure this project for the Commonwealth.

The project is receiving a $1.4 million award from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

The cooperative also is expected to receive an award of $341,750 from the Rural Rehabilitation Trust Fund, which is administered by VDACS.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin approved a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund with the counties providing matching funds.

“I commend the team of public and private entities that rolled up their sleeves, went to work and played a role in the formation of the Central Virginia Poultry Cooperative and getting the poultry producers in this region farming again,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr.

The establishment of the cooperative will restore poultry production in Central Virginia.

“Central Virginia Poultry Cooperative, Inc. was formed with the hope of returning the poultry growers of Central Virginia back to farming. We have been able to achieve this with help from many individuals and organizations,” said John Bapties, Central Virginia Poultry Cooperative president.

Dutch Country eggs are sold to national retailers such as Costco, Albertsons, Target, Aldi, Walmart, and Kroger.

“We look forward to our new relationship with the Central Virginia Poultry Cooperative and its family farm members. The family farm is our story. It’s what we support. It’s what we encourage. The family farm, where fresh, natural eggs come from fresh, clean environments,” said Lamar Bontrager, Dutch Country Organics CEO.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.