The goal of the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) Planning Grant program is to support Virginia agriculture and forestry by:
- Funding innovative local efforts to assist agriculture- and forestry-based businesses, and
- Encouraging local governments and the ag/forestry community to work together on better integrating these industries their community’s overall economic development efforts.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VDACS is offering expedited review and award of applications addressing the unique problems created by this public health crisis, especially the loss of market access for farmers selling direct to customers and restaurants. Such initiatives could include:
- Funding shared refrigerated storage facilities,
- Developing websites to connect growers and customers, or
- Offsetting “last mile” product delivery fees.
Newly revised Program Guidelines broaden what can be supported, better leverage existing resources, and lower local match requirements, especially for economically distressed communities.
Planning Grant awards may also promote or support agriculture and forestry through one or more of the following activities:
- Develop strategic plans, feasibility studies, business or marketing plans, or local ordinances
- Generate policies or programs for the preservation of working lands.
- Create local plans or initiatives supporting agriculture and/or forestry based businesses
- Fund innovative entrepreneurship and business development efforts
- Invest in the development of local agricultural development boards
Interested localities should contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for more information.