Southside Lost Battle For Chinese Paper Company, But Farmers Still Benefit
Shandong Tranlin Paper Company uses agricultural byproducts to make eco-friendly paper. That could equal additional income for wheat and corn farmers across the state.
For 24 years, Kevin Owen has been harvesting wheat on hundreds of acres in Pittsylvania County, but he is always looking for ways to expand his profit.
"In farming, every little bit helps, and that would be some additional revenue to go along with the grain that we are removing from the fields, " Owen said.
Pittsylvania County Agri-Business Development Director Fred Wydner says Tranlin Paper Company will use the straw and other residuals to create tree-free paper products.
Owen says he currently sells his leftover straw to be used in mulch, but there are other harvest residuals that he has no use for.
"It would be awesome if I had a market for something to do with it other than burn it, " Owen said.
City officials in Danville confirm that Tranlin Paper almost moved in right next door. The owners considered bringing the company and 2,000 jobs to Berry Hill Mega Park but they chose Chesterfield instead.
Wydner says, though we didn't get the jobs, our economy will still benefit in the end.
"It makes the farming community that much stronger, which in turn helps the overall economy and helps the overall community, " Wydner said.
Wydner says no contracts between the company and the farmers have been set, so a lot is still up in the air.
Officials on the Regional Industrial Facility Authority said they were not given an official reason why Tranlin chose Chesterfield instead, but they say on-going permitting issues at the Berry Hill site certainly did not help.