For Immediate Release: November 16, 2015
Contacts: Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Elaine Lidholm, (804) 786-7686, Elaine.Lidholm@vdacs.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Announces New Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Planning Grants

~Three Projects Receive State Funds, Local Matches to Support Agricultural Development in Six Localities~

 

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the award of three planning grants from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund.  The Commonwealth awarded a total of $56,000 to projects in the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission (PDC), City of Roanoke, and Nelson County to support the growth of agricultural and forestry industries in the Commonwealth.  The AFID planning grant program encourages local governments to promote agriculture and forestry and incorporate the needs of these industries into their strategic economic development plans. 

Speaking about the AFID planning grants while on a trade and marketing mission to India and the Middle East, Governor McAuliffe said, “Today’s announcement is an excellent example of the important role that our diverse agricultural industry can and will play in building the new Virginia economy.  These AFID planning grants across the state are leveraging multiple aspects of economic development in Virginia – agriculture, tourism, community development, and food access, among others.  I am pleased to see so many localities across the Commonwealth taking advantage of this program to support the local and regional efforts paving the way for future economic success.” 

“I applaud the LENOWISCO PDC, City of Roanoke and Nelson County for their strong commitment to Virginia’s agricultural and forestry industries, and we are pleased to give them the tools to help them support those industries,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore.  “The LENOWISCO PDC will utilize its grant funding to develop a regional agricultural development strategic plan that will have lasting impacts on the region’s economy.  The City of Roanoke Economic Development Authority (EDA) will strengthen the local food system and improve food access in the Roanoke Valley, while directly supporting local farmers and food entrepreneurs.  Finally, Nelson County will capitalize on their  wine, craft beer, and distilled spirits industries growing along the Route 151 Corridor and surrounding area to promote and complement the area’s burgeoning agritourism business while maintaining their quality of life.  These three initiatives will create economic growth in one of the Commonwealth’s largest economic sector, agriculture, furthering the Governor’s plan to build a new Virginia economy.” 

The AFID planning grant program, developed in 2012, encourages local and regional governments to enhance their strategies for supporting and integrating agriculture and forestry-based industries into their communities’ job creation and economic development efforts.  The planning grants are part of the Governor’s AFID program, an economic development tool helping localities locate new and expanding agriculture and forestry-related businesses to the Commonwealth.  AFID grants are available for political subdivisions of the Commonwealth interested in growing and developing their agriculture and forestry industries by strategically targeting practices or integrating practices that add value to Virginia-grown agriculture and forestry-related products. 

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) administers the AFID program and planning grant applications are accepted on a rolling.  Successful funding requests must demonstrate strong support from local government and the agriculture and forestry community, and the ability to provide matching funds.   For more information, please visit http://vdacs.virginia.gov/agribusiness/planning.shtml or contact AFID Fund Coordinator Stephen Versen at stephen.versen@vdacs.virginia.gov or 804.786.6911. 

Details on the grant awards are below: 

   

1. 

Project Title:

Regional Agricultural Development Strategic Plan

 

Applicant:

LENOWISCO Planning District Commission (Counties of Lee, Scott and Wise and the City of Norton)

 

Award:

$20,000

 

Summary:

The localities of the LENOWISCO PDC wish to develop a strategic plan to fully analyze and incorporate agricultural development into the region’s overall economic development efforts.  The plan will enable the region’s agriculture and economic development stakeholders to identify priorities, strategies and implementation projects, but also serve to further raise the profile of the local agricultural community, both locally and in the region.  The project will be overseen by a work group and steering committee representing a broad and diverse range of agricultural interests.

 

 2.

Project Title:

LEAP Community Kitchen Grant

 

Applicant:

City of Roanoke Economic Development Authority (EDA)

 

Award:

$20,000

 

Summary:

This project strengthens the local food system in the Roanoke Valley by funding additional food infrastructure, directly supporting local producers and food entrepreneurs, and increasing access to local food.  It consists of three components: a shared commercial kitchen space that will serve as a small business incubator; a small-scale local food hub; and the LEAP Mobile Market that will operate from the food hub.  Its goals are to (1) support an increase in production of local foods; (2) incubate food-based businesses; (3) expand access to healthy local foods in low-income, low-access neighborhoods; and (4) provide space for food, cooking and health education and programming.

 

 

3.

Project Title:

Rockfish Valley Area Plan

 

Applicant:

Nelson County

 

Award:

$16,000

 

Summary:

Nelson County’s Rockfish Valley, home to popular agritourism venues and craft beverage producers along Route 151, is experiencing significant increases in commercial development.  To ensure these changes do not negatively impact the special qualities that are the foundation of the area’s sense of place, quality of life, and economic vitality, the County is undertaking a comprehensive public-planning process to guide future development.  This plan will allow the County to proactively attract desired types of growth, direct development to appropriate areas, maximize Nelson County’s agritourism “brand,” support their thriving agritourism and agribusiness operations, and preserve the prime agricultural soils and landscapes that are the basis of their success.

 

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