DOUGLAS, GA (WALB) - Premium Peanut, LLC announced its intentions to build a peanut shelling facility in Coffee County. The facility will be located just west of the city of Douglas on a 42 acre tract on Barrington Road, between Sinkhole Road and Highway 32.
Initial site work started last week. The plant, which will entail close to $50 million in capital investment, is anticipated to employ approximately 100 people and should open for production around December 2015 to start shelling the 2015 crop.
“A commitment of one hundred new jobs is just want we need to kick-start the economy in 2015,” comments JoAnne Lewis, Executive Director for the Douglas-Coffee County Economic Development Authority. “The investment will reach far beyond our county lines; this project is regional. The impact will be felt by many counties in south Georgia.”
Construction of a new ultra-modern peanut shelling facility will begin soon with operation startup planned for late 2015. The shelling plant will be an LMC plant. Originating from the rural peanut farms of South Georgia, LMC has become the world leader in peanut shellers and equipment for the peanut shelling process. LMC equipment is responsible for shelling 90 percent of the commercial peanut market.
Shelling at the Premium Peanut plant will start with 110,000 tons for 2015 crop and grow to 140,000 tons within the first 3 years. Capacity to shell 200,000 tons will be viable.
Organization of the company was started in November 2014 by seven peanut buying points, which will warehouse peanuts for the growers at harvest and supply them to the shelling plant during the year. The Board of Directors for Premium Peanut represents each of the seven buying points - Steve Dixon, Dixon Farm Supply; Gabe Evans, Irwinville Peanut and Grain Co; Ralph G Evans Sr., Douglas Peanut and Grain Co; Kent Fountain, Southeastern Gin; Gene Waldron, Deep South Peanut Co; Drew Walker, Jeff Davis Peanut and Grain; Scott Williams, Dixie Peanut Producers; Gary Evans, Premium Peanut, LLC.
The peanut is the official state crop for Georgia. Georgia is the number one producer of peanuts in the United States, producing 48% of the entire U.S. crop. About 70 counties in Georgia produce more nearly 2 billion pounds of peanut each year. The peanut industry contributes about 50,000 jobs in Georgia. In Georgia there are approximately 200 peanut related businesses.