McAuliffe announces agriculture, forestry industries development planning grants in Rappahannock County, Shenandoah Valley

Governor-McAuliffeGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced the award of two planning grants from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund.  The Commonwealth awarded a total of $55,000 to projects by Rappahannock County and the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (PDC) 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.

“Continuing to support Virginia’s diverse agricultural and forestry sectors is a key part of my plan to build the new Virginia Economy,”said Governor McAuliffe.  “Identifying and supporting initiatives that strengthen agriculture and forestry build on these crucial sectors of our economy, and pave the way for future innovative projects.  Local and regional efforts to continue to develop these industries in Virginia, like those Rappahannock County and localities in the Shenandoah Valley are engaging in, should be recognized as vital parts of Virginia’s larger economic development plan.”

“I applaud Rappahannock County and the Central Shenandoah PDC 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.  “Rappahannock County will utilize its grant funding to develop a woody biomass aggregation facility, an innovative initiative that will have lasting impacts on the area’s agriculture and forestry industries.  The ‘Fields of Gold’ program will continue to promote and foster agritourism in the Shenandoah Valley, and will further increase rural economic and regional development.  These two initiatives will create economic growth in two of the Commonwealth’s most important sectors, 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 meant for agriculture and forestry value-added or processing projects.  AFID economic development grants are available for political subdivisions of the Commonwealth who have expressed interest in growing or developing their agriculture and forestry industries by strategically targeting practices or integrating practices that add value to Virginia grown agriculture and forestall products.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) administers the AFID program and planning grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the fiscal year.  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 cash or in-kind matching funds.   Localities interested in applying may visit or contact AFID Fund Coordinator Stephen Versen at or 804.786.6911 for more information.

Details on the grant awards are below:


1.Project Title:Market Analysis for Northern Piedmont Biofuels
Applicant:Rappahannock County
Summary:Rappahannock County is seeking $20,000 to develop a business plan for a woody biomass aggregation facility at the closed Rappahannock County Landfill. This aggregation facility would provide a guaranteed supply of high quality wood fuels to Northern Piedmont public facilities. Specific activities to be funded by this grant include the market analysis for potential wood energy facilities near the site of the aggregation facility, the determination of value-added products that could be produced at the facility, and identification of the specific woody biomass resources that could be aggregated at the proposed location.


2.Project Title:Fields of Gold: Mooving Ahead
Applicant:Central Shenandoah PDC
Summary:The Central Shenandoah PDC is seeking $35,000 to continue the results and momentum that the “Fields of Gold” program began after its inception from an initial AFID grant. This second grant is intended to further three distinct goals; creating and developing organizational funding that boosts rural economic development through regional collaboration, introducing business support services that assist agritourism businesses, and implement marketing practices that help the Shenandoah Valley attain recognition as the #1 agritourism destination in the nation. These goals reflect the larger initiative that is to increase the number of visitors to the region and continue to enhance its reputation as a premier agritourism destination not only in the Commonwealth, but in the whole of the United States.


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