Fields of Gold receives $98,000 USDA grant

The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission announced Thursday it will receive a $98,625 grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development to be used for programming with Fields of Gold, Shenandoah Valley’s farm trail agritourism program.

According to Bonnie Riedesel, executive director for the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, the money will be used for collaborative advertising and marketing efforts for the more than 200 farm businesses that make up the trail.

“We have an ad campaign that’s seasonal that goes into many of the magazines distributed in the area,” she said about some of the organization’s marketing work. “We also have a presence at many of the ag events, whether its farming in the valley or harvest festivals, or festivals at nearby wineries.”

Riedesel said the money will likely be available for use in August, once certain obligations are met.

Some of the funds will also be used to help Fields of Gold businesses with technical assistance and business support, as well as assisting new businesses in getting off the ground.

The grant funds were made available through the USDA Rural Business Development Grant program, which is designed to support commerce for small and emerging private businesses in rural areas with less than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or