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Clarke County Hosts “Agripreneur” Seminar on Feb. 12

Post Date:01/07/2020 5:00 PM

BERRYVILLE, VA (Jan. 8, 2019) By definition a farmer is someone who owns, works on, or operates an agricultural enterprise, either commercially or simply to sustain self or family. In the 21st century, there is a new and growing breed of agricultural-based workers known as “agripreneurs.” 
Agripreneurs combine their love of farming and agriculture with professional and innovative business approaches. This also describes Clarke County, which has preserved its vast agricultural open space while adapting for 21st-century farming innovations. 

Clarke County’s Economic Development Office hosts “Become an Agripreneur” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the second-floor meeting room of the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center located at 101 Chalmers Ct. in Berryville. The program is free and open to the public.

Guest speakers will focus on farming, agribusiness, and agritourism. The seminar is specifically designed for individuals who currently operate farms of all sizes as well as those who are keen to begin farming.

Each speaker represents an organization that supports agricultural businesses by assisting with business plans, grants, loans, business consulting, and identifying resources that will increase the probability of success.

● Corey Childs, agriculture and natural resources agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, will discuss agribusiness and agritourism trends in 2020.

● Julia Clark, assistant director of agriculture, development, and innovation for the Virginia Farm Bureau, will discuss the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) program and how the Farm Bureau provides grants for add-on revenue production.

● Ryan Clouse, a loan officer at Winchester-based MidAtlantic Farm Credit, will explain the Farm Credit and its range of programs designed to assist farmers, agripreneurs, and farm-related businesses.

● Kamran Gill of People Incorporated Financial Services will discuss the programs People Inc. offers, including micro loans and start-up loans.

● Ali Haney, who with her husband Dan owns and operates Shenandoah Seasonal farm in Boyce, will speak about commitment, hard work, and the benefits of a strong business plan. In 2017, the Haneys presented the winning business plan in the Regional Initiative Supporting Entrepreneurship (RISE) contest hosted by Lord Fairfax Community College and its Small Business Development Center. 

● Allyssa Mark, program associate from the Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Program (VBFRCP), will also participate.

● Janet Michaels, owner of social media and marketing firm Java Media and a local radio host, will help explain the importance of social media marketing for today's farmers.

● Stephen Versen, a marketing manager for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) will provide an overview of Virginia programs designed to assist agriculture-related businesses.

● Representatives from Lord Fairfax Community College Small Business Development Center will provide details about a variety of programs, including the Center's confidential help with business plans, financial planning, budgeting, and general business consulting.

For more information about the free “Become an Agripreneur” program on Feb. 12, contact Director of Economic Development and Tourism Len Capelli at 540-955-5107 or lcapelli@clarkecounty.gov.

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