Augusta Free Press

McAuliffe announces Rural Rehabilitation Trust Fund grants

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced awards totaling $499,521 in grant funding for six agriculture-related projects aimed at providing assistance and creating new economic opportunities for farmers and agriculture organizations across Virginia.

The grants are from the Commonwealth’s Rural Rehabilitation Trust Fund (RRTF), managed by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The awards resulted from a solicitation of project proposals issued by the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

The projects represent a range of diverse initiatives that strive to boost economic opportunities in rural areas of the Commonwealth through education, workforce development, entrepreneurship, food access, and local farm production.

“Agriculture is one of the Commonwealth’s largest private industries and a key component of growing and diversifying the new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I am pleased we are able to provide grants to these six projects which focus on enhancing economic opportunities in Virginia’s rural areas through initiatives like education, workforce development, food access and others. When we boost agriculture, we improve the health and economy of the entire Commonwealth.”

Basil I. Gooden, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry said, “The appeal of these projects is twofold: they help boost the bottom line for farmers and others involved in the agriculture chain, and they touch citizens at the level where it counts most, the food and farm products we consume.”

Grants totaling $499,521 were announced for the following recipients and projects:

In order to better assist rural areas in the future and to ensure continuity and stewardship of the RRTF, VDACS is developing updated program guidelines. The updated guidelines and a streamlined application process will provide funding and financing options to agriculture-related projects impacting rural Virginia.  The program will continue to support rural economic development through support of youth education, agriculturally oriented programs, pilot farming projects, farmer education and other rural rehabilitation projects. VDACS expects to announce the new round of applications and solicit proposals under the updated RRTF guidelines later in 2018.

 

About Virginia’s Rural Rehabilitation Trust Fund

Virginia’s Rural Rehabilitation Trust Fund has its origins in the Great Depression and the Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933. Following the depression, the federal government approved a series of diverse Emergency Relief Acts over the years that followed, eventually resulting in federal funding for state-sponsored programs under state-established rural rehabilitation corporations.