Livestock cattle pic

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Tuesday his administration will award Fauquier County $20,000 to study the economic viability of locating a small-scale meat processing facility at the Fauquier Livestock Exchange in Marshall.

The study, funded by the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund Planning Grant program, will be overseen by the Fauquier County Agricultural Advisory Committee, which provides recommendations and advice to the Board of Supervisors on matters affecting the local industry, according to a news release from the governor's office.

An additional $20,000 in matching funds has been pledged by Fauquier County, the Fauquier County Farm Bureau and the PATH Foundation.

“As I travel across the Commonwealth, I listen to our farmers about what they need to be successful and additional meat processing capacity is always at the top of the list,” Youngkin said in the release. “I am pleased to partner with Fauquier County and its cattlemen with this AFID grant to explore ways to increase the resiliency of Virginia’s agricultural economy and provide farmers new opportunities to be successful.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is charged with administering the grant money. The grant is intended to support planning efforts and local initiatives that benefit agriculture and forestry. Since 2013, AFID has awarded $1 million to 52 projects in 63 localities across the Commonwealth.

AFID Planning Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Successful applications demonstrate a clear need, a proposed solution, strong support from local government and the agriculture and forestry community and the ability to provide matching funds, according to state officials.

“Agriculture is the Commonwealth’s largest private industry, and in many counties, especially those of the northern Piedmont, livestock production is what drives the agricultural economy,” Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr said in the release. “Value-added agricultural enterprises are critical to the long-term health of the agriculture industry and to the preservation of working lands. It’s important for cattle producers to have access to as many market channels as possible and consumers benefit from access to locally grown and processed agricultural products."

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