Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study
Agriculture is a proven economic driver and integral part of our region’s history. Our small cities and rural towns and villages are known for their farmers’ markets, “foodie” culture, and as reputable farm-to-table restaurant destinations. The central Shenandoah Valley region spans seven counties, has over one million acres of farm land, and 6,312 working farms. The majority of farms are small to midsize (10-200 acres) and four of the top five agriculture producing counties in Virginia are located within this region.
To support our region's many agricultural businesses and entrepreneurs, the CSPDC applied and was awarded an $85,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through their Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) to conduct an Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study. Out of 215 applications to LFPP, this project was one of 42 that was awarded funds; it was the only project funded in Virginia. Combined with a GO Virginia Enhanced Capacity Building grant, these funds will be used to determine the viability of a certified, commercial, shared-use Agricultural Enterprise Center located in the central Shenandoah Valley.
February 23, 2021 update:
In February, Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study consultant New Venture Advisors, presented a recommended operating model to the CSPDC and Study Team. The presented and preferred model will continue to be evaluated throughout the duration of the study that is scheduled to complete in May. The model’s concept is to build a centralized agricultural facility and commercial kitchen that supports farmers, entrepreneurs and agricultural enterprises in the Central Shenandoah Valley. If brought to fruition, the Ag. Enterprise Center will provide warehousing for the aggregation, distribution and sale of local products; business incubation and support services for food businesses; and a certified commercial kitchen serving meat and vegetable producers and entrepreneurs.
The study’s next steps include the identification of anchor tenants, development of a capacity model, preliminary breakeven model, building program and bubble diagrams and further financial analysis. Potential sites and a facility floorplan will also be included in the final report.