At Matson Consulting, working with agricultural producers is not only about improving their businesses but benefiting the surrounding community as well. Agriculture is an important aspect of community development in both urban and rural areas. Matson Consulting has worked with multiple counties in Virginia and North Carolina to help determine ways in which agricultural ventures could spur economic development in their regions. Rural areas are increasingly recognizing the wide-spread economic and social impact that local agricultural producers can have if supported by their communities. By tying into the local foods movement and the growth of food hub ventures, communities are hoping to become more self-sufficient and offer more incentives for local businesses, such as farms, to remain. Matson Consulting has also recently completed an “Agricultural Development Board Guide” alongside VAFAIRS and other partners for the USDA Rural Development office. The guide discusses agricultural development boards (ADBs), the ties between agriculture and the economy, and how ADBs can benefit local economies by promoting development in agriculture and related areas such as energy, tourism, and conservation.
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