Tom Pyne, a Falls Church City native who graduated from George Mason High School in 2004, is the co-owner of Twenty Paces, a farmstead cheese production and processing that was announced as a recipient of a grant from Virginia Governor Terry McAullife’s office late last month.
He owns the business, which operates in Charlottesville, with his wife Melanie and their business partners Kyle Kilduff and Bridge Cox and is a 2008 graduate of the School of Agriculture at Virginia Tech. Governor McAullife approved a $11,000 grant from the state’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development fund and the Ablemarle County will match the state’s investment in the business.
The company, which focuses on high-quality, sustainable products, is poised to invest $321,000 in a facility at Bellair Farms and create seven new jobs. “Twenty Paces’ investment in this facility is the result of creative entrepreneurs engaged with a supportive community, and the partnership at Bellair Farms is a model for how new local, sustainable agriculture can work,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore at an announcement of the grant approval in April.
“It is particularly exciting to have young people interested in preserving agricultural heritage and traditions. Continuing to expand agricultural expertise throughout the Commonwealth is an important component to building the new Virginia economy, and I applaud Twenty Paces for its commitment to furthering those traditions by training apprentices at their facility.”