RICHMOND, VA - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced in the Town of Crewe that Trout River Dry Kiln, LLC will open a major hardwood kiln operation in Crewe, located in Nottoway County. The company, which will dry lumber to be made into hardwood flooring, will invest more than $5.5 million to build nine new kilns and create 40 new jobs, making it the biggest industrial job creator for Nottoway County in recent years. The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with Nottoway County, the Town of Crewe, and Trout River Dry Kiln on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).
Speaking in Crewe about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Virginia’s wood products industry supports good jobs in our rural communities, provides important market opportunities for the Commonwealth’s private forestland owners, and is a major driver of export sales and shipping containers through the Port of Virginia. Partnering with a company like Trout River Dry Kiln furthers the recovery of Virginia’s forestry industries, which were hit hard by the economic recession, and the important income and jobs they provide. Trout River’s expansion and relationship with Lumber Liquidators means that Virginia wood will be found in homes and businesses throughout this country.”
In addition to the investment and jobs created in Nottoway County, Trout River Dry Kiln will spend more than $30 million to purchase from Virginia sawmills approximately 34 million board feet of lumber – or 85 percent – of the 40 million board feet the company will need over the next three years, providing new opportunities for Virginia’s logging and sawmill industries. Trout River Dry Kiln will trim, dry, and grade the lumber before sending it to its sister company, Trout River Lumber, to be made into hardwood flooring.
“The Trout River Dry Kiln project is an excellent example of an AFID project that helps to create jobs and economic benefits, both at the facility, as well as throughout Virginia’s rural communities,” said Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “Sixty-two percent of Virginia is forested, with two-thirds of that land privately held. Trout River’s expansion creates a stronger market for private timber owners, provides jobs for Virginia’s loggers, and increases volume through the Commonwealth’s sawmills. Finding markets for Virginia wood products and helping companies like Trout River invest and create jobs in this important industry sector are among this administration’s highest priorities.”
The company will construct nine new hardwood dry kilns, with a capacity of 100,000 board feet each, to dry “green” lumber down to a level where it is stable and ready to be manufactured into high-quality hardwood flooring. The kilns will be heated by two large biomass boilers, which will be fueled entirely by sawdust and wood residuals from Trout River’s kiln and flooring operations.
“We are grateful to have strong partners like Governor McAuliffe and Secretary Haymore to help us grow a strong and sustainable economic base for this community,” said Clarence Simpson, Chairman of the Nottoway County Board of Supervisors. “We are delighted to have their support in attracting companies, like Trout River Dry Kiln, that rely on our community’s strongest assets, our natural resources and a dedicated workforce, but that also offer its workers wages that can support a family.”
A $100,000 AFID grant is being awarded to Nottoway County to assist the Town of Crewe with site improvements for a 5.26 acre parcel in the town’s industrial park, where the project is located. The parcel, valued at more than $115,000, is being donated to Trout River Dry Kiln and will serve as the required local match for the grant.
“My company, Trout River Lumber, has been a large supplier to Lumber Liquidators for the past fourteen years,” said John Barber, owner of Trout River Lumber and Trout River Dry Kiln. “The formation of Trout River Dry Kilns further enhances the vertical integration of hardwood flooring production while providing Lumber Liquidators with hardwood flooring harvested and converted in Virginia. I am pleased by the support we are receiving from Nottoway County and the Commonwealth that is helping us to make this further investment in the Town of Crewe.”
According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia's largest industries, with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually. Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry induces over $17 billion. The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.
About the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund
The AFID Fund was created during the 2012 session of the General Assembly and is being embraced by the McAuliffe Administration as an important tool in growing the Commonwealth’s agriculture and forestry sector and helping to make Virginia the leading exporter of agricultural and forest products on the East Coast. More information about the AFID grant, which has the flexibility to assist projects large and small throughout Virginia can be found at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/agribusiness/afid.shtml).
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