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McAuliffe announces first recipients of Virginia Farm Business Development Grants

virginia logoGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced that two Virginia farmers have been awarded the first grants of up to $5,000 from the Virginia Farm Business Development Program. This new program was established to help farmers and small agribusinesses invest in business development activities such as planning, market research and farm succession development. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) will award approximately 30 Virginia Farm Business Development Program grants of up to $5,000 annually to qualified applicants.

“Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry and a critical part of the new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This new program encourages our farmers and small agribusinesses to plan for growth, conduct marketing activities and address the transition of the farm from one generation to the next, thus strengthening the future of Virginia’s agriculture and promoting our products in the global marketplace. I am pleased to award the first two grants of the program, and look forward to many more to come.”

Farmers and small agribusinesses that produce or process agricultural or forest products and have been in business for at least three years are eligible to apply. Small agribusinesses must have no more than 20 full-time employees. Eligible business development activities include, but are not limited to: business plans, business restructuring, farm succession planning, feasibility studies, marketing plans, website design, branding and marketing materials, preparation for marketing, food safety or animal welfare certification, recipe development, and product label development and design. Grants are not available for farm or agribusiness operations such as equipment, facilities or insurance.

“Farmers and small agribusinesses that have a clear plan for managing economic risk, broadening their income sources and enhancing their marketing strategy are better able to endure the ups and downs than those who fail to plan,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden, speaking at today’s convention on the Governor’s behalf. “A resilient Virginia agriculture is better all around – for the farmer, our economy and, ultimately, the consumers.”


2016 Virginia Farm Business Development Grants

Applicant Locality Award Offer
Joe’s Trees Craig County $5,000
Benjamin B. Ellis Jr. Farms Essex County $5,000

The Virginia Farm Business Development Program will award 30 grants of up to $5,000 each fiscal year. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis. Grants will be awarded quarterly until all available grant funds are committed.

More information about the Virginia Farm Business Development Program and a downloadable application is available here.