Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund – Facility Grant
The AFID Facility Grant programs offers localities discretionary matching economic development incentive funds to assist them in locating new or expanding facilities that create new jobs, capital investment and add value to Virginia grown agriculture and forestry products.Discretionary , VDACS
The Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and is governed by § 3.1 of the Code of Virginia. The goal of awarding AFID facilities grants is to attract new and expanding agriculture and forestry processing/value-added facilities using Virginia-grown products. The program uses the following metrics:
- Virginia jobs created, and their average wage
- Value of capital investment in Virginia
- Value of new purchases of Virginia-grown agriculture and forestry products
The AFID Program was created because many economic development projects in the agriculture sectors, the Commonwealth’s largest private industry, were not benefiting from state economic development incentives. The program was built using the successful and time-tested Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund as a model, but removing minimum thresholds for jobs and investments, and replacing them with a provision to require purchases of Virginia grown products. The program is relatively new, with first award announced in December 2012, and has operated well, with only a few administrative improvements made thus far.
Shenandoah Valley Organic – The City of Harrisonburg used AFID funds to help the start-up Shenandoah Processing, LLC (dba Shenandoah Valley Organic) bring an abandoned poultry facility back to life as Virginia’s first organic- and humane-certified poultry processing facility. The company committed to investing $2M, creating 102 jobs, and purchasing over $114M in Virginia-grown poultry over their first three years of operation. After one year, Shenandoah Valley Organic has exceeded their goals – making over $3.3M in new capital investment, creating 180 jobs, and is well on their way to achieving their purchase target.
Homestead Creamery – Homestead Creamery, the Franklin County based producer of high quality milk, ice cream and other dairy products, received the first AFID award in 2012. The funds leveraged over $1M in new capital investment and helped the company add 20 new employees and add cheese, yogurt and sour cream to their product line. This expansion has directly led to purchase of an additional 500,000 of Virginia-produced milk and cream.
International Paper – Through the AFID Fund, Isle of Wight County partnered with two former employees of the shuttered International Paper Franklin Saw Mill to reopen the facility, bringing almost $15M in new investment and over 70 good paying jobs back to site, all while creating a major new market for forestland owners in the region.