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Cathy Jett is the business editor at The Free Lance-Star, and specializes in covering the area's retail scene. You can email her at

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Northern Neck, Fauquier get state agriculture planning grants

The Northern Neck Planning District and Fauquier County have been awarded planning grants from the Governor’s Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development Fund.

The fund awarded a total of $249,000 to 11 projects covering more than thirty localities to support the growth of agricultural and forestry projects in the Commonwealth for this fiscal year.

The Northern Neck Planning District received $35,000 to help pay part of a proposed $100,000 feasibility study to determine the economic efficiency of using barges to transport logs timbered on the Eastern Shore to Kinsale for milling.

The study will be conducted in two phases, and seeks to address the timber availability problem that Northern Neck sawmills face, and the lack of a robust transportation infrastructure to transport timber into the area.

Fauquier received $6,000 to conduct a study of the county’s farming community’s needs, and to off-set the costs of having the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center conduct an “Impact of Agriculture” study to document the overall economic contribution of agriculture to Fauquier.

The AFID planning grants program was developed to encourage local governments and regional organizations to analyze and plan strategically about how they can support and integrate agriculture and forestry-based industries into their communities’ overall economic development efforts.