Author Archives: Pam Bailey

Cost-Share Funding Opportunity for Stream Exclusion Fence Lines

A cost share funding opportunity for vegetation management in stream exclusion fence lines is open to all that have excluded livestock from streams and not just those that have participated in government sponsored cost share programs. This program is funded by Bedford County and the Peaks of Otter Soil and Water Conservation District.

This program will provide a 50% cost share rebate to farmers to assist in the management of vegetation along fence lines and spot treatment of non-native invasive plants in stream buffer areas. Farmers participating in this voluntary program would be reimbursed for 50% of their expenses (up to a maximum of $125.00 per farmer) incurred to manage these weeds using herbicides recommended by the Extension Office.

Your application for the Stream Exclusion Weed Management Program needs to be received in the Bedford County Extension Office by September 30. Funding is limited and applications will be considered on a first come first served basis.

If you are interested, an application is attached. Should you have questions about this program, or determining which of the recommended herbicides are the best option for your particular situation, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone, 540-586-7675, or email, scbaker@vt.edu

Montvale farm receives $9,000 AFID grant for commercial kitchen upgrades

(Bedford County, VA)—A Montvale farm is one of 11 recipients of the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industry Development (AFID) Fund Infrastructure Grants. Bramble Hollow Farm will receive $9,000 to complete a commercial kitchen that will give them the ability to produce and sell value-added products.

Established in 2004 by Brent and Anna Wills, Bramble Hollow Farm specializes in the production of heritage breeds of chickens and pigs. They sell their products to local customers and small businesses in Bedford County and the surrounding area.

In 2020, the Wills built the farm’s commercial kitchen. With this AFID grant, they will be able to add a commercial tilt kettle that will allow the farm to produce chicken bone broth more efficiently and safely. They will also add an additional propane smoker that is specifically dedicated to chicken products only. By reducing cross-contamination, the Wills will be able to offer specific products for customers with certain dietary restrictions such as alpha-gal.

The commercial kitchen at Bramble Hollow Farm is also a space where the Wills lead educational, hands-on workshops and skill-sharing programs for local and regional farmers, homesteaders, and other related businesses.

The purpose of the Governor’s AFID grant program is to support strategic investments into missing infrastructure that is impeding small-scale farmers and food producers from growing their operations. The program was created in 2021 and is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The 11 projects funded by this round of AFID grants range from meat processing to grain milling and total $214,000.

Source4 to expand operations in Bedford County

Bedford, Virginia – The Bedford County Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the Economic Development Authority (EDA), is pleased to announce that Source4, an integrated business and marketing solutions provider, will invest more than $4.5 million and add 30 new jobs in Bedford County over the next five years.

“We have enjoyed our experience in Bedford County and look forward to increasing our presence even further. The Bedford County Office of Economic Development and the Economic Development Authority has been very supportive and helpful throughout our expansion process,” said Dan Siadak, Chair and CEO of Source4. “Due to strong growth in the assembly and fulfillment industry, we are continually expanding to keep up with demand.”

The company, located on Vista Centre Drive in Forest, is headquartered in North Carolina, and has had operations in Forest, Virginia since 2018 when they purchased Marketing Support Solutions, Inc. The company is expanding its operation by adding a 43,000 square foot warehouse, bringing the total space to 161,000 square feet.

“Companies like Source4 provide an important service in a growing industry and steady, full-time jobs,” said EDA Chairman, Jimmy Robertson. “We are happy to see this company thrive in Bedford County.”

Source4 plans to hire more assembly, fulfillment and distribution workers, as well as warehouse personnel once the buildout is complete. Current job openings include Order Fulfillment Director, Engraving Machine Operator, and Inventory Control Coordinator. Qualified candidates are encouraged to contact Billie Schlueter.

About Source4:

Source4 is a national company, headquartered in Cornelius, North Carolina, and has been in business for over 40 years. They provide a broad range of Integrated Business and Marketing Solutions to fulfill their client’s operational and marketing needs. The company’s extensive fulfillment and distribution capabilities and the ability to provide a wide range of technology solutions allows for the delivery of complete custom solutions for their clients.

 

Liberty University’s Civic Recharge Innovation Challenge comes to Bedford

Liberty University’s School of Business partnered with Bedford County for its inaugural Civic Recharge Innovation Challenge. In late 2021, Dr. Roger Bingham, Residential Chair with the School of Business, approached the Bedford County Office of Economic Development with a program that would be open to all LU students and benefit Bedford County in some way. The Office Economic Development, Social Services, and Bedford Community Health Foundation brainstormed a social problem to solve that impacts our community. After many discussions and reviewing the Health Needs Assessment, we determined that Transportation would be the problem to solve. 

We shared some information with students at a kick-off meeting on March 28 and the students had two weeks to research and come up with a solution for transportation challenges in the County.

“The students did not disappoint,” said Pam Bailey, Economic Development Director for Bedford County. “Given the short period of time they had to learn about the challenge and research the transportation options that are available and then present solutions to those challenges, we were very impressed.”

Three teams presented to a panel of judges which included Holley Scheffel, Business Programs Coordinator with Bedford County, Andy Crawford, Social Services Director for Bedford County, Scott Hall, SVP with Pinnacle Financial Partners, Denny Huff Executive Director of the Bedford Community Health Foundation, and Waller Perrow, President of Perrow Management Group.

The winning team focused on the existing Otter Bus that currently serves local citizens who do not have adequate or reliable transportation. The bus is handicapped accessible and operates three days per week. This team looked to expand the offerings of the bus to include our senior population and take them to various locations around Town including the Parks & Rec offices for Senior Bingo, the National D-Day Memorial, the Bedford Welcome Center, and other areas around town that would provide volunteer opportunities, plus local shops and restaurants.

We look forward to working with students on future projects and hope to be able to incorporate their ideas into future plans for more community engagement with our senior population.

VDACS Commissioner Joe Guthrie Speaks to Local Farmers and Producers in Bedford

On April 6, 2022, Joe Guthrie, Commissioner of the Virginia Agriculture and Consumer Services Department (VDACS) made a special appearance at the Bedford County Agricultural Development Advisory Board meeting. The well-attended meeting was held at the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in Bedford where Commissioner Guthrie spoke with local farmers and producers about the goals and objectives of Governor Younkin’s office as they relate to Ag and Ag-related issues.  Board members and guests were given an opportunity to pose questions to the Commissioner on a variety of topics.

Commissioner Guthrie shared several policies the Governor’s office is focusing on to assist the Ag industry. Those policies include increasing revenues for farmers and agriculture, increasing Ag exports, increasing the number of Ag processing facilities that add value to localities, and nearly doubling funding available for Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development (AFID) grants. He also noted that an Executive Order would be signed on Thursday, April 7, which would focus on recycling and waste reduction. He stated the number one contributor to landfills across the  nation is food waste. A copy of that order can be found here:

 

 

Shelley Basinger hired as new Public Information Officer for Bedford County

County Administrator, Robert Hiss, is pleased to announce Shelley Basinger as Bedford County’s new Public Information Officer (PIO). This is a newly created position within the organization.

Ms. Basinger has been the managing editor with VistaGraphics since 2016. In this role, she oversaw the development of three regional magazines: Lynchburg Living, Lynchburg Business, and Central VA Bridal Guide. Prior to that, she held roles in marketing at Liberty University and as an anchor/ reporter/ producer at WSET-TV. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Upon accepting this role with Bedford County, Ms. Basinger stated, “I look forward to working alongside the administrative team, department leaders, Board of Supervisors and many others to bring Bedford County’s communication strategies to the next level. As a Bedford County resident, I am thankful for this incredible opportunity to provide this public service to a community I know and love.”

Robert Hiss further stated, “Shelley will bring energy and creativity to the County government and her varied experiences position her well to succeed. I look forward to her joining our leadership team and to the improvements she will employ to further communication to the citizens we serve.”

Holley Scheffel joins Bedford County Economic Development Team

Brings more than 20 years of public sector education and real estate experience

Bedford, Virginia— The Bedford County Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce that Holley Scheffel has been hired as Business Programs Coordinator. She started the position on January 3, 2022 and brings more than 20 years of public sector education experience. She most recently served as a special education teacher for Roanoke County Public Schools. Holley is also a licensed real estate agent in Virginia.

Holley’s primary responsibilities include coordinating the Bedford One program industry tours that link high school students with local businesses based on their career interests, as well as providing support to the EDA and coordinating economic development programs for the County, both for existing and prospective businesses.

“I am thrilled to be working for Bedford County in a capacity that blends my educational background with my experience in real estate,” said Holley. “I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for me – and for our County – in this role.”

“We are excited to have Holley join the team and look forward to working with her to develop new programs to support businesses in Bedford County,” said Pam Bailey, Economic Development Director for Bedford County. “With Holley’s background in education, we look forward to coordinating more with the local school system, area colleges and universities, as well as Virginia Career Works – Central Region to create an internship program for our local companies.”

Holley holds a Master of Science in Education from George Mason University, a Master of Arts in Adult Learning from Virginia Tech, a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University, and an endorsement in Administration and Supervision from Longwood University. She resides in Huddleston with her husband.

Applications are open for AFID Infrastructure Grant

The Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) Infrastructure Grant Program provides grants of no more than $25,000 per grant to political subdivisions for community infrastructure development projects that support local food production and sustainable agriculture. The grants are awarded competitively, paid out as reimbursements, and require matching funds. Applications will be taken and awards made primarily through funding rounds; however, projects may be considered on a rolling basis in special circumstances.

Priority Project Types
Consideration will be given to the following projects types:

  • Processing facilities that are primarily locally owned, including commercial kitchens, packaging and labeling facilities, animal slaughtering facilities, or other facilities, and that are primarily utilized for the processing of meats, dairy products, produce, or other products
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Food hubs and other agricultural aggregation facilities

Interested businesses should submit their application to the Office of Economic Development for review by February 4, 2022.

Visit the VDACS website for full details as well as the application forms.

Meet Ethan Tanner, the newest member of the Agricultural Economic Development Advisory Board

Ethan Tanner has lived in Bedford County his entire life. Born and raised in Big Island, he lives on the land his great-grandfather purchased back in 1910. The farm is a designated “Century Farm” meaning it’s been used for agricultural purposes for 100 years.

Ethan raises registered angus beef cattle on the farm for seed stock and commercial cattle with his father and two brothers. He and his wife, Christa, have been married since 2015 and they have three boys, Andrew (4), Miles (1), and his newest son, Cooper (1 month).

When asked about how he got involved with the Ag Board Tanner said, “Several months ago, Tommy Scott, Supervisor for District 5 where I live, reached out to me to apply for the Ag Board. I looked into it and thought it would be a good way to get involved at the County level and help make a difference.”

He’s worked in the community for years to help educate people on agriculture and help them get started with ventures of their own. “Agriculture is more than a hobby for me,” he said. “I’m trying to help in whatever capacity will allow me to serve for the greater good and the legislative aspect of the Ag Board intrigues me.”