Shelling facility coming to Atmore

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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Gov. Kay Ivey announced Sept. 15 that Coastal Growers LLC is planning to build a peanut shelling plant in Atmore, according to a release.

The plant will bring 100 or more jobs to the area, turning the Escambia County city into a hub for peanut shelling in southwest Alabama.

The company is owned by a cooperative of farmers, most of them residing in Alabama, and will build an $87 million shelling and storage facility on more than 60 acres in the Atmore Industrial Park, according to a release.

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“The Coastal Growers facility in Atmore will become a vital resource for peanut farmers in Alabama and beyond by helping to make their operations more sustainable and profitable,” Ivey said in a release. “I look forward to seeing the impact that this project is going to have for our farmers and for the region.”

Paul Turner, an attorney representing the company, said the average wage in the plant will be more than $17 per hour for the 100-plus fulltime workers. In addition, there will be temporary positions added during peak shelling times.

“We are excited to be able to announce this project today, to bring peanut shelling to south Alabama, and to bring economic benefit to the hard-working farmers of our state who so desperately need it,” Turner said. “We also offer our sincere gratitude to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Atmore Mayor Jim Staff and everyone else who made this project possible and brought us to Atmore, including the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, both of which were vital in the project’s development.”

Jess Nicholas of Centerfire Economic, who serves as executive director of the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, said he expects the facility to ultimately employ 150 workers and attract other businesses to the area.

“Shelling operations tend to attract other businesses in this sector, and also spur development in infrastructure and other areas. We expect it to have a positive effect on the Port of Mobile as well,” Nicholas said. “We worked hard to bring Coastal Growers here, and we’re very thankful to Coastal Growers for picking us, and for Governor Ivey for supporting our efforts. We’re on the map now as far as peanut production is concerned.”

Glenn Spivey, president of Dothan’s Hollis & Spann Inc., will be heading up the construction efforts for the project. Spivey said the new facility, encompassing more than 400,000 square feet, will take about a year to build.
Staff said the city welcomes Coastal Growers and is excited to be able to help the area’s farmers.

“It’s not just the jobs at the plant itself, even as much opportunity as that will bring to the city,” Staff said. “It’s what we’re able to do for our farmers and their families who have lived here and worked here for generations. They’ve spent their money in Atmore, and they’re an important part of our community.”