PROGRESS SEPTEMBER 2021: $64.3M peanut factory will create 130 new jobs | Special Sections

A peanut grower-owned company plans to invest $64.3 million and create 130 new jobs in Orangeburg County.

Parts of the new peanut shelling facility are expected to be operational by spring 2022.

“This is an investment made by peanut growers,” Premium Peanut President and CEO Karl Zimmer said during the September announcement.

“We very much look forward to working with South Carolina peanut growers and growers and welcoming them as part of Premium Peanut,” he said.

Zimmer made the announcement in front of a group of more than 100 people from the Palmetto Peanut Company in Calhoun County. Palmetto Peanut is the largest of the state’s 12 peanut buying stations.

Premium Peanut plans to invest $27.5 million in buildings and $36.8 million in equipment in Orangeburg County over the next five years. The company has not yet specified where its new factory will be located.

It will be the state’s first peanut shelling plant.

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Georgia-based Premium Peanut was founded in 2014. The company says it has one of the newest and largest peanut shelling facilities in the world.

The company started shelling peanuts in 2016 with a shelling capacity of around 140,000 tons. The company has reached a factory capacity of 300,000 tons, or about 10% of the country’s groundnut harvest.

The company has also operated an oil mill since 2018.

Premium Peanut now has over $250 million in revenue.

“We have a problem,” Zimmer said. “We are out of capacity. The market continues to grow and the opportunities continue to grow.

The Company’s customers include leading domestic snack, candy and peanut butter manufacturers, as well as customers in more than 30 countries around the world.

Premium Peanut is owned by over 400 peanut growers throughout Georgia and now in South Carolina.

Zimmer said the company has been so successful that investors have earned enough to repay the initial investment and share values ​​have doubled in seven years.

The company considered several sites and states for its bombing facility before settling in Orangeburg County.

As part of its arrival in Orangeburg County, Premium Peanut received a 30-year tax-in-lieu tax incentive.

It was also placed in a multi-county industrial park with Dorchester County. A multi-county industrial park is an incentive mechanism, not a physical park.

The company will also benefit from tax credits for the development of employment.

SC Gov. Henry McMaster, who attended the announcement, said: “When our people are working, people want to invest in us, including Premium Peanut.

“That’s why they come here – because it’s about the people.”

McMaster presented the company with a brass plaque with the state motto, “While I breathe, I hope.”

“These jobs will have above-average salaries,” said Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young. “It will also certainly be a benefit to the citizens of Orangeburg County.”

“We value our farmers and our manufacturing in Orangeburg County,” said Gregg Robinson, executive director of the Orangeburg County Development Commission. “It’s a perfect wedding and a one-of-a-kind facility in South Carolina.”

SC Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said the project means “jobs and investment” in Orangeburg County, which will raise taxes and provide well-paying jobs.

Weathers said the bombing facility was just another opportunity to market one of the state’s star crops.

“Here’s another marketing opportunity because they’re going to need more groundnut acreage,” Weathers said.

Peanuts are currently purchased at a Buy Station. The SC Department of Agriculture grades peanuts for the farmer.

“You have a dried peanut in storage,” Weathers explained. “Until this investment, these peanuts would then be transported to Virginia, North Carolina or Georgia to be shelled and then processed into peanut products or whole peanuts.”

With the addition of the shelling plant, “the next level of value will now be in South Carolina, so that’s tax revenue,” Weathers said.

“When agribusiness thrives, all of South Carolina benefits,” he said.

Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright said, “It’s a team.”

“We all hope to benefit from this event in one way or another. We’re just grateful for the opportunity. Let’s move Orangeburg forward, ”he said.

Premium Peanut president Ken Fountain said coming to South Carolina was a win.

Growers interested in learning more should contact the Palmetto Peanut point of purchase.

Those interested in joining Premium Peanut should visit the company’s careers webpage at

About Cassondra Durden

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