FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, DEC. 5, 2013
||Brian Long, director
NCDA&CS Public Affairs
Agriculture Commissioner Troxler's statement
on Golden LEAF grant for cold storage facility at port
RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler issued the following statement today after the board of the Golden LEAF Foundation approved a grant to the Southeastern Partnership to support development of a cold storage facility at the Port of Wilmington:
“This cold storage facility is a vital piece of infrastructure that our producers have needed for a long time, and I want to thank Golden LEAF for helping to make it a reality. North Carolina is the largest producer of pork and poultry on the East Coast, and these meats are among our most popular exports. The state also has the only East Coast ports that currently do not have a cold storage facility for these products. I’m glad that is going to change.
“Our department has been very aggressive at boosting North Carolina agricultural exports in recent years. In 2012, the value of North Carolina agricultural exports was nearly $4 billion. We also have been very involved in helping to make this facility happen. Cold storage capability for meats, fruits, vegetables and other commodities will provide benefits both to our marketing efforts and to the Port of Wilmington. I’m pleased that a public-private partnership is making it a reality.”
The Council of State in February approved a lease in February that gave the go-ahead to a public-private partnership seeking to build the 75,000-square-foot facility at the Port of Wilmington. The partnership between the State Ports Authority and USAInvestCo will create a state-of-the-art facility for near-vessel cold storage of agricultural products, both exports and imports. Company officials expect construction to begin in 2014, with the facility opening in 2015. The grant to the Southeastern Partnership will support the purchase of equipment, which will be leased to the company.
A modern cold storage facility at the port is expected to generate substantial savings to North Carolina’s agriculture industry by reducing logistics costs to and from ports. Once constructed, this facility will enable the state’s farmers to use the state’s ports, as opposed to neighboring facilities in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia.