Site location decisions are based on many factors, from job training and labor availability to transportation and market proximity. But financial incentives certainly help, and one that more processors are beginning to avail themselves of is the New Markets Tax Credit.
Premium Peanut LLC tapped into that credit when building a $50 million shelling operation that started up in January in Douglas, Ga. It is the first new U.S. shelling plant in 12 years, according to Karl Zimmer, Premium’s CEO, and the more than $6 million in investor tax credits it generated was “absolutely critical,” he says. The facility is expected to stabilize the market for Georgia peanut farmers who previously faced uncertainty over whether there would be a buyer for their crops.
To qualify for the credit, a facility has to be built in an economically distressed area. Other recent food-related projects include an anaerobic digester operated by Foremost Farms in Richland Center, Wis., and Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro, Vt. Commonwealth, which produces private-label yogurt for the retailer Aldi, took advantage of the credit when it built its processing plant in 2011 and again in 2013 when the facility was expanded.