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$350 million investment to impact Valdosta area agricultural economy; create jobs

The facility will create nearly 400 new jobs and once opened will serve more than 750 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in the Southeast.
Posted at 6:10 PM, Oct 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-11 18:10:14-04
  • With a $350 million investment, the new facility will open in 2025.
  • The plant will create 390 job in production and food safety, with some positions starting at $30/hr
  • Watch the video to see how the facility will create milk products using ingredients sourced from local farmers throughout the region.  


Valdosta's got milk and nearly 400 new jobs because of it.

I'm Malia Thomas, your neighborhood reporter in Valdosta, and I made a trip to Fifth Day Farms to see how a new Walmart Dairy Plant will help them stay Georgia Grown.

Agriculture: for Steve and Janet Hendley it's a way of life.

They own Fifth Day Farms at the edge of Lowndes County.

"It started off with 11 chickens. That's how it got its name. From the fifth day from the creation story of the Bible."

It's not about just animals and produce.

On this land, they're all about educating the community when it comes to the ag economy in South Georgia.

"Children in the cities don't know. They don't have contact with any type of agricultural life anymore."

Now, a $350 million investment is giving the Lowndes County ag economy a boost while bringing jobs to the area.

Wednesday, Governor Brian Kemp announced Walmart is building a facility on Inner Perimeter Road in Valdosta.

It will create fresh dairy products using ingredients sourced from local farmers.

I asked economic development director Andrea Schruijer about it.

"So actually now, instead of that milk leaving the state and going somewhere else, it will stay here and be processed here in the state of Georgia."

Walmart will be hiring for positions in production, engineering, quality, food safety, warehouse operations, maintenance, drivers, and more.

"Valdosta's has a strategic plan to grow our number one industry, which is agriculture. We're happy Walmart chose us."

An industry Steve says he hope more people will understand with such a huge investment.

"They think milk comes from the grocery store. They think eggs come from the grocery store. And meat comes from the grocery store, and it doesn't. It comes from the farm."

Operations are expected to start in 2025.

In Valdosta, I'm Malia Thomas, ABC27.