Golden LEAF funded infrastructure serves sweet potato ventures in Nash County

Golden LEAF funded infrastructure serves sweet potato ventures in Nash County

September 21, 2023

Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton attended the recent ribbon cutting for the Crump Group’s Crump Naturals plant in Nashville.

Crump Naturals is a producer of limited-ingredient pet treats that are sold in pet specialty stores, grocery stores, and supermarkets under a variety of brands. Crump Naturals’ main ingredient is sweet potatoes. As North Carolina is the number one producer of sweet potatoes in the nation, Crump Naturals moved strategically closer to the source of this ingredient.

In 2015, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $200,000 in Open Grants Program funding to the Town of Nashville to support an upgrade to its sewer infrastructure necessary to serve Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients (CIFI). CIFI opened a new, state-of-the-art, food-processing facility in Nash County that produced sweet potato juice and by-products. While CIFI created 45 jobs and used sweet potatoes from 12 area North Carolina farmers, the operation ultimately closed in March 2021.

Later that year in August 2021, Governor Cooper announced that Crump Naturals would open a facility in the former CIFI building, thanks in part to a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) and a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

North Carolina sweet potatoes have been a key ingredient in several of the company’s products for many years and the facility in Nash County offers streamlined access to this raw material. According to the Governor’s press release in 2021, the facility will create 160 jobs. So far, the company has reported creating 80 jobs.

“When Golden LEAF awards infrastructure funding, the infrastructure must be on public land and for public use,” said Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton. “Funding infrastructure is one of the tools Golden LEAF has to help increase job creation and economic investment opportunities, especially in rural and economically distressed communities.”

For this site in Nash County, two sweet potato ventures have used this infrastructure and also helped local sweet potato farms with a new market.

“Golden LEAF is pleased to see a new company using the infrastructure put in place in 2015,” said Hamilton. “We are also excited about the 160 jobs this employer is bringing to the local workforce and the North Carolina farmers that will benefit from the company’s use of sweet potatoes.”

To learn more about Golden LEAF’s priority of Job Creation & Economic Investment, click here.


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