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Features New project will support agriculture, help create jobs in 23 WNC counties

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is applauding a new project to support Western North Carolina’s agriculture economy and spur job creation in 23 counties. WNC AgriVentures, a program developed by Advantage West and Land of Sky Regional Council, is launching the project with an $815,000 federal grant, which Hagan supported. The project will help expand WNC’s sustainable agriculture and natural resource industry and support local producers and entrepreneurs. It was announced Aug. 15 at Blue Ridge Food Ventures incubator in Candler.

“Western North Carolina is becoming a powerhouse in the local agriculture and local sustainable food movements,” said Hagan. “I am pleased that this project will allow AgriVentures to continue supporting initiatives that will expand the agriculture industry in our western region. By helping local producers grow their businesses, this project will help put people in WNC back to work.”

WNC AgriVentures “Cultivating Jobs and Innovation Project” was one of only 13 projects selected across the country to receive funding from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The award will be used to promote investment in major supply chain opportunities and provide Western North Carolina businesses access to new technology from regional universities and other research and development centers by leveraging the area’s agricultural assets.

Areas served by the WNC AgriVentures project will include the 23 western-most counties of North Carolina: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey.

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