M&M Milling opens its first East Coast production facility

Published 1:44 pm Monday, July 1, 2019

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By Chris Morello


M&M Milling, a toll processor specializing in grinding, blending and sizing of agricultural materials, has established its first East Coast location in Isle of Wight County. The firm is adding to existing operations in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee as it expands its corporate footprint and engages more customers in the wood products industry in the Eastern United States. The company has purchased a dormant industrial facility that ceased operations over a decade ago near the city of Franklin, and is situated within a Virginia Enterprise Zone, as well as a revenue sharing district with Franklin. The new Isle of Wight operation will employ at least 15 people and purchase hundreds of thousands of bushels of shelled corn from local farmers each year as part of its production processes.

The Governor’s Office, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina K. Ring, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Isle of Wight County have partnered to secure M&M Milling’s fifth milling facility in the U.S. by offering various incentives for major capital investments, full-time job creation and purchases of Virginia-grown products.

Ring announced from Isle of Wight on Friday morning that Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $50,000 matching grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to assist Isle of Wight County with the project. The County will match this amount with local Enterprise Zone incentives and in-kind services. The company is also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, as well as funding and services to support the company’s employee training provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

William M. McCarty, chairman of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, said, “We could not be more pleased to welcome this established, successful and growing agri-business into our community. We believe that the future is very bright for this firm, and we value and appreciate the partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia, our County and M&M Milling to bring good-paying jobs, significant capital investments as well as purchases from nearby farms as part of their production processes.”

Isle of Wight County Administrator Randy R. Keaton said, “Our partnership with M&M Milling in bringing them to Isle of Wight gives us confidence that the firm will be a very high-quality corporate presence in our community. Any locality would be proud to welcome this firm, and we are fortunate they chose to make their investments in Isle of Wight.”

Isle of Wight Economic Development Director Chris Morello said, “M&M Milling’s planned capital investments of over $2.3 million, new job creation and high-volume sourcing from local farmers will be an incredibly beneficial combination for our community’s economy. Add to that the repurposing of a long-dormant industrial facility, within which the company can further expand, and it is easy to see why we are so pleased to welcome M&M Milling to Isle of Wight.”

Carrsville District Supervisor Don Rosie said that the facility had once been the site of Franklin Equipment, which had provided machinery for the harvesting of trees. This business closed about 10 years ago, with the site sitting dormant ever since until earlier this year.

“I remember looking at this facility for years and wishing we could bring it back,” Rosie said.

When asked why M&M had selected Isle of Wight County for the location of its first East Coast plant, Anne Thompson, M&M Milling’s director of property management, said the former Franklin Equipment site on Carver Road was appealing in that it was located outside of any flood zones, close to railroad tracks and the Port of Virginia, and offered room for the company to expand. She said that M&M’s renovations began in February or March and are still ongoing. She added that M&M plans to invest about $2 million in capital improvements at the facility over the next three years.

Josh Reno, plant manager, explained that the corn cob residue or CCR that the facility produces is used as a binding agent in the manufacture of plywood. Holmes Morel, company founder, said once the corn is ground into a fine powder, the CCR is sent to a Georgia-Pacific resin plant in Conway, North Carolina, and from there, is sent to plywood plants.

 CHRIS MORELLO is the director of economic development for Isle of Wight County. Contact him at 365-1969 or cmorello@iwus.net.

STEPHEN FALESKI, staff writer, contributed to this story.