Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission



RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission met on Friday, January 7th, at the Richmond Marriott to approve projects that promise to create new opportunities for farmers, increase the ability of localities to attract new businesses, support entrepreneurs as they seek to start a business and attract valuable tourism dollars to the region. The Commission serves 40 localities in southern and southwest Virginia.

Tobacco Commission Chairman, Ed Owens said, “Supporting our farmers and producers, as well as creating jobs and opportunity in the communities we serve by helping attract new businesses and expand existing ones, have always been priorities for the Tobacco Commission and the projects approved at this meeting will do all of those things and more. I’m proud of what the Commission accomplished here in Richmond and look forward to seeing these projects get underway.”

Tobacco Commission Executive Director, Evan Feinman added, “The ability to quickly adapt to a changing environment is a core strength of the Commission and allows us to meet the current needs of the communities we serve. From helping Barter Theatre recover from the effects of the pandemic to ensuring that localities have the infrastructure in place to support large projects, and everything in-between, the Commission has never been more ready to move forward and meet the challenges of developing a diverse economy in Southern and Southwest Virginia.”

Additionally, the Commission has released its 2021 annual report which can be viewed here: Annual Report

The following projects were approved for funding by the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (Please see the meeting packet on our website for full project descriptions, staff comments, grant requirements and other business including project extensions and modifications):

Southern Virginia Program

3891, Campbell County

Southern Virginia Precision Agriculture & Farm Efficiency Grant – $505,000 Grant
This project will support a cost share program intended to “encourage producers to incorporate new practices that enhance their operation’s inputs and cost savings.” The Virginia Cooperative Extension offices in 19 counties would administer the program and 8-10 producers would be supported per county. The program is targeted to four categories (1) Precision and Improved Agriculture Technology; (2) Produce Equipment & Cold Storage; (3) Produce Handling & Hay Storage Facilities; and (4) Livestock Handling Equipment.

3895, Martinsville-Henry County Chambers Partnership for Economic Growth

Startup/Grow Martinsville-Henry County Expansion – $103,575 Grant
The MHC Chamber of Commerce coordinates the Chamber’s Partnership for Economic Growth (CPEG) program in partnership with Patrick Henry Community College and Longwood Small Business Development Center. This project will allow CPEG to serve additional entrepreneurs, provide additional training to entrepreneurs, and to make additional investments in viable business concepts. The focus of this funding will be on incentives for businesses that produce a traded product or service, contributing to the region’s economic base. Examples of targeted sectors include agribusiness, technology, small-scale production, manufacturing, and health care businesses.

Southwest Virginia Program

3928, Abingdon Feeder Cattle Association

Mechanizing Forage Research In Southwest Virginia – Phase III – $9,000 Grant
This project will support the purchase of a no-till seed drill for use in seeding forage research and demonstration plots. TRRC previously supported the purchase of harvesting equipment required for forage research.

3930, Floyd County EDA

Floyd County: Adding Much-Needed Meat Processing Capacity – $8,671 Grant
This project will assist with equipment purchases for the establishment of a new, privately owned, meat processing facility in Floyd County. The facility will serve 50 producers by its third year resulting in a $10,000 increase in revenue for the producers.

3927, Virginia Pumpkin Growers Association

FRESH START: On-Farm Produce Safety Investments from Farm to Market – $507,000 Grant
This project will assist with training and on farm infrastructure for fresh produce growers required to obtain USDA’s Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. This certification allows producers to verify that the farm’s production and handling practices meet required safety guidelines. GAP certification is necessary to allow producers to sell products through commercial market opportunities. The majority of the grant ($500,000) will be used for producer cost share payments. A small amount ($7,000) is allocated for training materials and supplies as well as for printing and postage costs. Grant funds will reimburse 33% of eligible costs up to a $5,000 limit. This request will support approximately 100 producers.

3923, Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority

Project Intersection – Building #1 – $500,000 Grant
This project supports infrastructure needs at the Project Intersection industrial site in Norton. The property requires additional site development, as well as construction of a 30,000 SF building, to accommodate the recently announced EarthLink project. These improvements must be completed within a 24 month period in order to accommodate the project. Commission funds will be used for the site development work including paving, curbs and gutters, site signage, lighting, parking bumpers, etc.

3926, Russell County Industrial Development Authority

Russell Place Project Phase II – $303,500 Grant
This project will support the redevelopment of a property in the Town of Lebanon. Within the last 36 months, 30 new businesses have located in Russell County and the IDA does not have any properties available for new prospects. To accommodate future demand for industrial space the IDA purchased a vacant property consisting of an existing 5,200 square foot building on a 12.6 acre site. These funds will be used for Phase II renovations of the building including demolition of the oldest portion of the building and renovation of the remaining structure.

3929, Joint IDA of Wythe County

Construction of Wastewater Line for Progress Park Lot 24 – Referred to VRA for a $500,000 loan
This project will assist with necessary infrastructure improvements to serve Lot 24 in Progress Park which is the location of the recent Blue Star NBR and the Blue Star AGI industrial announcements. Required infrastructure improvements to accommodate the Blue Star project total approximately $31.9M. This application focuses on the extension of wastewater service to site via construction of a force main line.

3925, The Barter Foundation, Inc.

Barter Theatre Regional Marketing Campaign – $70,000 Grant
This project will assist Barter Theatre in hiring a public relations firm to develop and implement a two year regional marketing campaign with the Theatre at the center. A strategy will be developed to appeal to urban markets. Barter wishes to increase attendance from beyond a 100 mile radius and believes there is untapped potential to recruit patrons from markets such as DC and Atlanta.

Contact: Jordan Butler
Telephone: 804-786-7692
Cell: 757-692-0878
Email: jbutler@revitalizeva.org
Website: www.revitalizeva.org