RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced two planning grants have been awarded from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund. The Commonwealth awarded a total of $40,947 to projects by Fauquier & Loudoun Counties and Clarke County to support the growth of agricultural and forestry industries. 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.
“Continued support of Virginia’s agricultural and forestry industries is a key component of building 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 support these industries in Virginia, like those being undertaken by Fauquier, Loudoun and Clarke Counties, should be recognized as vital parts of Virginia’s economic development strategy.”
“I applaud Fauquier, Loudoun and Clarke Counties and their commitment to Virginia’s agricultural and forestry industries,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden. “Fauquier and Loudoun Counties will evaluate the feasibility for a food port that could be a new opportunity for farmers in Virginia to provide food to major urban and institutional markets. Clarke County will quantify the benefits of conserving working lands for agriculture and forestry uses. These two projects will have lasting impacts in their communities and the region, and are a part of furthering the Governor’s plan to build a new Virginia economy. I’m pleased that these communities were able to utilize the AFID planning grant program to support agriculture and forestry in Northern Virginia.”
The AFID planning grant program has awarded $795,597 to 39 projects covering 58 unique localities across the Commonwealth since its creation in 2012. 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 who have expressed interest in growing or developing their agriculture and forestry industries by strategically targeting or integrating practices that add value to Virginia grown agriculture and forestry products.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services 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.
Title: Regional Food Port Feasibility Study
Applicant: Fauquier and Loudoun Counties
Summary: Fauquier and Loudon Counties will evaluate the feasibility of a regional food port. The port could act as a commercial-scale food distribution center where individual farms, cooperatives and local food hubs aggregate product supply for efficient storage, processing, and preparation for urban markets. With this study, the counties will be able to identify opportunities for increased agricultural production and to target infrastructure investments for economic growth. In addition, results of the study will be shared statewide to encourage more farms and local food hubs to participate as suppliers of the food port.
Title: Fiscal Benefits of Agricultural Land Conservation
Applicant: Clarke County
Summary: Clarke County proposes to undertake a research project to define the costs of providing community services to landowners. Agriculture and forestry land uses have been demonstrated in national studies to generate more revenue than cost to local governments. Clarke County intends to quantify its fiscal benefits precisely, in order to understand the value of conserving land for agriculture and forestry uses.