Gov. Northam awards grants to strengthen local food systems, support minority farmers, innovative livestock production

Virginia News

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — On Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced three localities in Virginia will each receive a grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund Planning Grant program to support initiatives for local agriculture.

The grants will leverage funding from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC), Opportunity Appalachia, and GO Virginia.

These localities include Charlotte County, Grayson County, and Page County.

Charlotte County will use the $20,000 grant to support efforts to diversify its agriculture sector. The funding will aid in facilitating the growth of the Southside Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Producers Association by providing administrative support and equipment upgrades at a new TRRC-funded facility. Association members include former tobacco producers who are shifting to fruit and vegetable production as a way to maintain the health of their farms’ finances and to keep the land in the family.

In Grayson County, they will use the $20,000 grant to leverage its federal Opportunity Zone designation, an investment from Opportunity Appalachia, and support from LOCUS Impact Investing to help make the county a hub for specialized livestock production. The grant will be used to provide the professional investor recruitment services needed to bring the production of high-value, pathogen-free sheep for biomedical research, and associated application to the county.

Page County will use the $12,000 grant to support its Fresh Food Project to connect local farmers with local consumers and tourists with the goal of strengthening the region’s food system. This project will build on the GO Virginia-funded Agriculture Enterprise Center Feasibility Study in Region 8 by identifying ways to establish a supply chain for locally-grown foods.

“Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private sector industry and a critical component of healthy rural economies in Southern and Southwest Virginia. Our administration is pleased to support the innovative efforts in Charlotte, Grayson and Page counties that are helping local agriculture producers and agribusinesses diversify their operations and create sustainable growth.”

Gov. Ralph Northam

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