A canning factory of a daily capacity of fifteen thousand cans is a possibility for Starkville in the near future.
A special meeting of the Oktibbeha County Chamber of Commerce was held on Monday night and the project was considered and discussed with the result that the body endorsed the movement and subscriptions to the capital stock are now being taken.
Mr. R. M. Hendee, secretary of the Peterman Construction and Supply Company, a Chicago Corporation, is in the city and appeared before the meeting and made a proposition looking for the erection of a canning factory. The company that he represents is designers and builders of completely equipped food products plants. Mr. Hendee’s proposition was that his company would erect a suitable building, equip it with the necessary machinery and furnish an expert canner if the necessary capital was subscribed. The capital required to finance the proposition is about $20,000. Of course, it will not take this entire amount for the building and equipment but a site will have to be secured and operating capital provided.
Mr. Hendee, assisted by Mr. Ed Taylor, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, has been busy all the week soliciting subscriptions to the capital stock and has been meeting with fine success. Merchants and Farmers are being asked to subscribe to the stock and it is said that many farmers are taking stock and pledging acreage for the raising of vegetables.
The plant when completed will be equipped to can vegetables and fruits such as spinach, beans, okra, tomatoes, pumpkins, blackberries, sweet potatoes, etc. The plant will give employment to from 50 to 75 people during the canning season and it will also give the truck grower and farmer a cash market for the fruits and vegetables the lack of which has kept many of them from engaging in truck farming.
A canning factory for Starkville is now an assured fact. More than $18,000 of the capital stock has already been subscribed and the promoters are sanguine of securing the necessary subscriptions to bring the total to the full capital stock of $20,000. Practically all of the businessmen of Starkville subscribed to the stock and many were added to the list before the week closes.
The Peterman Construction Company of Chicago who makes a speciality of building and equipping food products plants is promoting the factory. They became interested in this territory through correspondence with Mr. L. D. Garriott of Eupora, but who has lived near Phebe for the past several months. Mr. Garriott was instrumental in getting most of the stock subscribed among the farmers before a Peterman representative was sent here. He is a native of Indiana and had raised vegetables for the canning factories in that state.
The building superintendent of the Peterman Company will arrive in the city sometime next week and it is hoped to have all the capital stock subscribed when he arrives. The Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the project and is assisting in getting the stock subscribed. Mr. Hendee, secretary of the Peterman Company has been in the city for the past week and he and officials of the Commerce body are pleased with the progress o f the of this community-owned enterprise, the interest being taken having exceeded all expectations.
A meeting of the farmers of the county will be held at the courthouse on Saturday at 1:30 pm to discuss and sign for acreage of the various truck crops. The vegetable that are to be grown for the factory are Burpee stringless beans, white velvet okra, Norton’s wilt resistant tomatoes and Pinto Beans, yams, besides the factory will purchase berries and fruits
The Starkville Canning Factory, which started business in the early spring of 1926, has closed the season and is now making preparations for a larger and greater business for the year 1927 and the promoters are hoping for a great increase in the output over last year.
During 1926, the factory’s first year, it canned for the market approximately: One and one-half carloads of sweet potatoes, one carload of snap beans, 200 cases of tomatoes, 200 cases of okra and about 25 cases of beets. While to the average citizen this output does not seem very large, yet it must be considered that this was the first year of the factory and it was more or less experimental and it will take perhaps two years for the factory to get well under way.
This year there will be more truck farming in this territory, as the farmers now realize that this factory is creating an immediate market for most all vegetables and fruits that can be raised in this county.
It is apparent to the businessmen and farmers of the community that the canning factory is going to prove a great asset to the city and country. The farmers are being urged to put in truck patches and raise vegetables and other trucks for the factory. The market is here for those who will do it and it is a cash crop.