Food commercialization center could be coming to Ayden

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AYDEN, N.C. (WNCT) The town of Ayden discussed the food commercialization center that would benefit farmers in six counties at their last council meeting.

They approved giving $50,000 to the contractors so the planning phase can continue as they wait on $2.5 million from the state budget for the project.

The town will be reimbursed by the state once the state budget is approved.

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Plans are in the works right now for a food commercialization center in Ayden.

It looks to help farmers in six counties and provide an economic boost for the town and for Pitt County, but it all depends on if the state passes the budget.

The state budget has close to $3 million dollars set aside for the Eastern North Carolina Food Commercialization Center which would be in Ayden.

What it is exactly — farmers who aren’t able to sell their crops, they can take them here — for a small fee, and they’ll wash, package and sell them for the farmers.

Ayden town manager Steven Harrell says there will be an economic boost, he said, “An economic boost not just to the region but also for Ayden because many of our folks would be able to benefit from the jobs it will produce.”

There will be about 10 jobs available in the beginning, but Harrell says more will follow.

Harrell said, “Over the next 5 years, it is projected that the project would increase jobs in our area by 200 jobs”

If the state budget is passed, $2.5 million dollars would be set aside for the 24,000 square foot facility.

It would look to help farmers package and distribute their crops as well as provide food processing services to food companies, retailers and many restaurants.

The money would be split between two years.

Harrell says if everything goes according to plan, they’d like to see the center built by the spring of 2020.

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