Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund Planning Grant awarded to Shenandoah County

virginiaGov. Ralph Northam today announced a grant for Shenandoah County from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to help develop a new economic development strategic plan.

The AFID planning grant program incentivizes local governments to promote agriculture and forestry and incorporate the needs of these industries into their overall economic development efforts. The $10,000 award leverages an additional $25,000 in local funds needed to complete the robust new plan.

“Support for the Commonwealth’s agricultural sector is key to rooting in prosperity and a high quality of life in all parts of Virginia,” said Northam. “I commend Shenandoah County for its efforts to identify new and innovative ways to grow the industry and leverage its resources to lay the groundwork for future economic success.”

Recognizing the important role that agriculture plays as the leading industry in Shenandoah County, Shenandoah County’s Office of Tourism and Economic Development is developing a strategic plan to strengthen the county’s economy and build on its agricultural-based assets. The county is looking to develop innovate opportunities to maintain and expand its agricultural industry, including identifying infrastructure needs to support growth, developing a policy framework to protect and expand the agricultural sector, and identifying strategies to maintain a healthy workforce.

“Agriculture contributes to many aspects of Virginia’s economic well being, from providing food and jobs to bolstering our economy through tourism and agribusiness,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “This planning effort by Shenandoah County is ensuring that farmers and the agricultural industry will remain a vibrant and growing part of the community’s economy and identity.”

Since its creation in 2012, the AFID planning grant program has awarded $785,597 to 37 projects covering 58 unique localities across the Commonwealth. The planning grants are part of the Governor’s AFID program, an economic development tool for agriculture and forestry value-added or processing projects. AFID planning grants are available for political subdivisions of the Commonwealth committed to growing and developing their local agriculture and forestry industry sectors.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) administers the AFID program, and planning grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Successful funding requests must demonstrate a clear need, a proposed solution, strong support from local government and the agriculture and forestry community, and the ability to provide matching funds. For more information, please visit the VDACS website.

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