Food production on Opp’s radar

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 10, 2015

The city of Opp has chosen to focus on bringing food production to the city.

The city of Opp has chosen to focus on bringing food production to the city.

The city of Opp will focus on drawing food production industries to the community, officials said Tuesday.

The Opp City Council took the first step by hiring the consulting firm Target Industry Prospects to schedule meetings at processing expos and create a prospect development campaign targeting food processors, manufacturers, distributors, co-packers, and other food companies.

City Planner Jason Bryan said they selected food production because locally, they already are familiar with the industry.

“The organic markets have opened up,” he said. “Food production was the only industry that didn’t lose during the recession.”

Bryan said that many of these types of companies are agriculture-based and that Opp could be a good fit.

“They will email blast approximately 3,000 companies and CEOs with information about Opp,” he said.

Bryan also told the council that the contract would guarantee eight to 10 leads over the next two years.

Mayor John Bartholomew urged the to approve the $7,500 consulting fee.

“This council is the leader to this city,” he said. “You should take every opportunity to bring business to our city.”

Councilmember T.D. Morgan asked about the $15,000 that the city gives to the Covington County Economic Development Commission.

“I thought this was what Rick Clifton was supposed to be doing,” Morgan asked.

Bartholomew said Clifton also focuses on the county and the other cities.

“We want someone focusing on Opp,” he said.

Councilman Bobby Ray Owens was concerned because they didn’t know anything about TIP.

“Jason researched the company and others, and this one has the best track record in helping find industries,” Bartholomew said.