Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development Fund

Grant Program

In 2013, James City County was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The planning grant was from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID), a new program to advance the agriculture segment of the state economy. The grant helps fund the process of identifying the current agriculture and forestry enterprises in the County, assessing the growth potential of the agriculture industry locally, and identifying specific projects that could assist in the growth of agriculture and related industries. This project is important because it combines the work of many individual efforts, in an attempt to create more comprehensive and meaningful results.

Comprehensive Plan

In advance of the 2009 Comprehensive Plan, the County sponsored a series of scientific surveys and open community meetings. In these surveys, 79% stated that it is more important to preserve farmland in the County than it is to have more development. The Comprehensive Plans adopted in 1991, 1997, 2003, and 2009 have all recognized the importance of working lands as components of the County’s economy and identity and have included goals, strategies and actions that support rural economic development. The James City County Planning Division has been focused on appropriate zoning and subdivision regulations for the entire County, with special sensitivity to those areas designated Rural Lands in the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

Land Use

Specifically, Land Use Strategy 6.1 and Economic Development Strategy 8 in the 2009 Comprehensive Plan call for us to promote the economic viability of farming and forestry as industries through various measures such as agri-business, eco-tourism, green energy uses, recreation, marketing efforts and protecting prime farmland. Ensuring agriculture- and forestry-based businesses are viable is of utmost importance and is crucial to create a viable economic alternative for rural landowners. However, the Planning Division has also reviewed applications for three major subdivisions in rural areas totaling more than 400 lots and requests to re-designate multiple properties from Rural Lands to more intensive land use designations.