For Immediate Release: September 27, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, Ofirah.Yheskel@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Elaine Lidholm, Elaine.Lidholm@vdacs.virginia.gov | Belmont Peanuts of Southampton, Inc.: Robert Marks, RobertMarks@BelmontPeanuts.com

Governor Northam Announces Major Expansion by Southampton County Peanut Processor

Belmont Peanuts to construct new facility, receive county’s first AFID award

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Belmont Peanuts of Southampton, Inc. will invest over $2.5 million to build a new peanut processing, warehousing, and retail facility prominently located along Highway 58. As a result of this expansion, Belmont Peanuts will create fifteen new jobs, grow their purchases of Virginia-grown peanuts by 30 percent and create a new tourism destination for Southampton County.   

“Providing forward-thinking organizations like Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. a tool to support new growth by family-owned, farm-based businesses like Belmont Peanuts is one of the primary reasons the AFID fund was created,” said Governor Northam.  “I am pleased to announce Southampton County’s first ever AFID award to assist with this expansion, and I congratulate Belmont Peanuts on its continued success and investment in Virginia.”

Belmont Peanuts, a family-owned and -operated company, was founded in 1993 as a small mail order business and has grown to a thriving peanut processing operation that sells a wide variety of savory, spiced, and dessert-flavored gourmet peanuts through direct sales to customers and retail chains across the United States. Belmont Peanuts is owned by the Marks family, who have been growing peanuts in Southampton County for generations. Many of the top quality peanuts that the family grows are used in their products.

The company’s new facility will allow for increased production, improved efficiency and the ability to achieve even higher food safety certifications. The retail store will feature the entire array of Belmont Peanuts goods, along with sandwiches and other prepared foods featuring these products. This new facility will open up space at the company’s current location, allowing them to install a new chocolate enrobing operation for their signature line of chocolate-covered peanut products.

“Through their commitment to using Virginia-grown peanuts in their high quality products, Belmont Peanuts is ensuring that their success is shared with producers across the region and thus further supporting Virginia’s farmers and agricultural community,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring.

“Belmont Peanuts of Southampton is proud to relocate and expand our manufacturing facility, remaining in the great agricultural community of Southampton County,” said the Marks family. “We believe that the relocation and expansion will allow our company the opportunity for future growth, as well as provide us with a distinct visual and logistical advantage. We are proud to work together with our local officials, investing in our community and in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Amanda Jarratt, with Franklin Southampton Economic Development, has been instrumental in handling many of our details. Her professional assistance has been invaluable.”

“Please add my congratulations to the many I know you have already received on the expansion of Belmont Peanuts of Southampton, Inc.,” said Senator L. Louise Lucas, 18th District. “As we work to bring new jobs to Southside Virginia, we are proud to support this leading company that has positively contributed to Southampton County’s economy for over 25 years.”

“Agriculture and forestry businesses generate over $91 billion to Virginia’s economy. Belmont Peanuts of Southampton County, Inc. is a family owned business that has grown and produced gourmet peanuts of many flavors that we have enjoyed for many years,” said Delegate Roslyn Tyler, 75th District. “The expansion of this small business will continue to boost the economy of our area and the Commonwealth as well as create job opportunities. Congratulations, Belmont Peanuts, and thank you for investing in rural Virginia and I look forward to purchasing your new flavors and products.”

“This investment by Belmont Peanuts highlights a significant boost to economic growth in our region. This is an exciting new chapter for Southampton County and a testament to the future economic success of the County and the Commonwealth,” said Delegate Emily Brewer, 64th District. “I wish Belmont Peanuts and the Marks family continued success in the many years to come.”

“We are thrilled for the Marks family and for the future of Belmont Peanuts. Agriculture and food processing are significant contributors to the Franklin Southampton economy,” said Chairman of Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. Brian Hedgepeth. “It has been great to watch the growth and expansion of Belmont Peanuts over the years, and we look forward to supporting them in all of their future endeavors.”

“Belmont Peanuts is a family-operated enterprise, highlighting the pride of our local roots,” said Southampton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dallas Jones. “Belmont Peanuts has maintained high quality work standards through their dedication and commitment to our local land assets, and we are proud to support this expansion announcement.”

The Commonwealth is partnering with Southampton County, Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. and Belmont Peanuts on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). Governor Northam approved a $30,000 grant from the AFID Fund, which Southampton County will match with local funds. This is the first AFID award to Southampton County.

# # #