Food Processing & Agribusiness

FOOD PROCESSING & AGRIBUSINESS IN THE NRV

With the bounty of workforce and water paired with affordable land, a good culture for niche markets, and a history of agriculture, Virginia’s New River Valley proves “A Natural Fit” for companies in Food Processing & Agribusiness.

INDUSTRY STATS

73 FOOD &
BEVERAGE PROCESSORS

2,294 FARMS TOTALING
400,000+ ACRES

1.7 BILLION GALLONS
AVERAGE DAILY RIVER FLOW

PRIMARY SUB-SECTORS

SPECIALTY FOOD & BEVERAGES

BREWERIES, WINERIES, & DISTILLERIES

VALUE-ADD AGRICULTURE

PACKAGING

BUSINESS ADVANTAGES

New River Water Trail

The New River

RELIABLE & ABUNDANT – The New River has an average daily flow of 1.7-billion gallons and is a very reliable, clean water source. There is also adequate infrastructure in place to process waste water.

BRAND APPEAL – The New River offers a unique brand position for specialty beverages. It is an ancient river system that is said to be the oldest in North America and second oldest in the world.

Virginia Tech Food Science & Technology Department

Virginia Tech

R&D- The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences ranks #6 in the U.S. with over $101 million in research spending (2015). Areas of strength include Food Science & Technology, Dairy Science, Animal & Poultry Science, and Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences.

ACCESS TO TALENT – Students from the Food Science & Technology Department are highly sought after and graduate with job offers, and many of these students want to stay in the region post-graduation.

NRV Distances East Coast Map

Location

ACCESS TO MARKETS – Centrally located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States along I-81, the NRV is within a day’s drive of major markets in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest.

GROWING CONDITIONS – Nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, the NRV’s elevation, averaging 2,300 ft, and geocoordinates provide a mild climate with excellent solar radiation for agribusinesses.

MAJOR EMPLOYERS

Spectrum Brands Logo
Red Sun Farms Logo
Chateau Morrisette Logo
Red Rooster Coffee Roaster Logo
Phoenix Packaging Logo

INDUSTRY CULTURE IN THE NRV

Agribusiness

Agriculture has been a staple of the NRV economy for centuries. Red Sun Farms has an 18-acre, high-tech greenhouse where they grow hydroponic tomatoes. Riverstone Organic Farm is a locally based grower of organic produce. The NRV is also home to Hillside Farms, a free range robotic dairy, and the Virginia Tech Dairy Science Complex.

Red Rooster Coffee Roasters

Specialty Products

The NRV’s creative vibe, connection to nature and entrepreneurial spirit has produced a growing specialty product scene. Red Rooster Coffee is just one of our premier specialty coffee roasting companies. Obis One is a producer of locally sourced organic black garlic products. The region is also home some to a growing number of local craft breweries and wineries, each with its own flair.

Riverstone Organic Farm

Farm-to-Table

The NRV is full of passionate people who care about the natural environment and locally sourced food. The 11 farmers markets in the NRV each have a unique vibe and serve as community gathering places. Good Food Good People supports farm-totable practices in the NRV by connecting farmers with consumers.

David Morrisette Riverstone

“This is a third-generation winery.  This whole place is family-owned – and it started as a hobby in the basement… We went from 1000 cases to 70,000.”

David Morrisette, Chateau Morrisette Owner

LOCAL TRAINING & DEGREE PROGRAMS

Virginia Tech’s Department of Food Science & Technology

PROGRAMS & TRAINING – Almost 100% of graduates have jobs in product development, research, sales and marketing, quality assurance, production management, analytical/technical services and regulatory affairs at graduation – and many wish to stay in the area.

FOOD PROCESSING & PACKAGING PILOT PLANT – The 7,100-square-foot space provides a vital resource for food companies that are just starting up or are evaluation new equipment, processes and product lines. The facility features chilled water, vacuum, air, natural gas, steam, C02, N2; pasteurizers and retort for sterilization, temperature-controlled storage, vacuum packaging machine, product batching and mixing capabilities, and malting, brewing and distillation equipment.

SENSORY EVALUATION LABORATORY – A state-of-the art facility that food companies can use to explore emotional responses to ingredients, packaging and marketing. The facility features 10 individual panelist booths equipped with observational cameras with synchronous video recording software and automated facial expression analysis software.

FOOD & BEVERAGE FERMENTATION OPTION – Food & Beverage Fermentation is one of the four degree options available to Department of Food Science & Technology students. This brewing program was recognized by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas in 2017, and is one of 12 programs in North America to receive this honor.

Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology
VT Department of Food Science & Technology
Joe Marcy Riverstone

“It is an excellent time for food and beverage processing in the NRV. Virginia Tech’s Food Science & Technology Department has partnered with many industry leaders in food and beverage processing to provide expertise and state-of-the-art facilities in the NRV. We welcome this; it helps further industry and provide meaningful experience for students.”

Dr. Joe Marcy, Virginia Tech Food Science & Technology Department Head

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