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Local planning grants available from governor’s agriculture and forestry development fund

RICHMOND—As part of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, funding was set aside last year to encourage localities to think strategically about agriculture- and forestry-based industries.

AFID planning grants give local governments the flexibility to undertake planning, study or local initiatives to grow and support agriculture- and forestry-based businesses. The grant program also provides a greater voice in local economic development to agriculture and forestry stakeholders by requiring that any grant-funded program be implemented by a board, committee or working group representing local agriculture or forestry interests.

“The AFID Fund is very important for localities that want to attract and retain agriculture- and forestry-based businesses,” said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Many of these businesses will support production on local farms and forests, or they will use the local raw products for value-added activities. This type of interdependency can help strengthen local economies and encourage both farm and off-farm jobs.”

The competitive grant program allows localities to apply for as much as $20,000 in matching funds, or as much as $35,000 for multi-jurisdictional applications. Localities are required to provide a dollar-for-dollar local match, with in-kind donations such as staff time acceptable for as much as 50 percent of the match requirement.

Localities interested in applying for an AFID planning grant should reach out to their local and regional agricultural and forestry communities to discuss potential projects, as well as local economic development professionals and other key stakeholders. The application deadline for the initial round of grants is March 1.

For more information visit
agribusiness/planning.shtml or contact Stephen Versen at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 804-786-6911 or
Contact Elaine Lidholm, VDACS, at 804-786-7686.
Posted in: Forestry


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