Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study Underway


A feasibility study is now underway for a shared-use Agricultural Enterprise Center in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study will determine if a certified, commercial,

shared-use facility in the central Shenandoah Valley is possible, practical and viable. If brought to fruition, this multi-use facility is expected to support the region’s many small to mid-size

agricultural businesses by expanding market reach and reducing some of the risk and burden of facility building by any one operation.

The study region includes the counties of Augusta, Bath, Highland, Page, Rockbridge,

Rockingham and Shenandoah and the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington,

Staunton and Waynesboro.  The study region has over one million acres of farm land, and over 6,300 farms.


Led by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, the study will identify

what components will be the most successful and beneficial to local farmers, explore physical

locations for a facility, and structure a comprehensive business plan to be used for future

implementation. Potential uses include a commercial kitchen, food lab/testing kitchen, flash freeze facility, training space for smart-ag classes, packaging and distribution operations and business planning resources. An eight-member Study Team comprised of potential Ag. Center users and representatives of businesses and organizations who support local food production will provide vital assistance throughout the duration of the study.

The study is expected to be completed by May of next year.

The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission will be seeking input from farmers, stakeholders and buyers for the Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study.   The online survey will be available mid-September through mid-October and will be collecting information on current market trends, facility needs, distribution concerns and more.

For more information and to participate in the survey, go to the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission’s website at

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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