RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- A grant program that supports agriculture and forestry industries in Virginia is sprouting job growth and economic development across the state.
According to data provided to The Associated Press, officials have committed nearly $1.8 million in funding to 18 projects since the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund began in 2012.
Those grants are tied to investments of more than $145 million and nearly 1,330 jobs mostly in Virginia's rural areas. On average, the companies getting the money also have promised to source more than 70 percent of its raw materials from Virginia growers. Projects range from a craft whiskey distillery in Williamsburg to hydroponic tomato growing operation in Pulaski County.
Virginia localities and planning commissions also have been awarded $465,000 to attract and study agriculture and forestry opportunities.