New Food Processing Cluster Funded: NABC to Hire Project Manager
NABC will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide technical support for existing agricultural processors and to incubate new processors of agricultural products in Northwest Washington. Known as the Northwest Washington Agricultural Processing Initiative, the goal of the program is to utilize long-term strategic business planning to improve economic conditions in rural areas. A $50,000 Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) was awarded to NABC, which will be matched with Washington State Department of Commerce funds to implement the program.
The Processing Initiative will leverage the resources of multiple collaborative agencies and organizations across county lines to create a network of processing businesses, foster business start-up and expansion, and support a feasibility study regarding the establishment of a regional product development and co-packing facility. This facility will serve as a technical resource for farmers and processors – providing expertise in processing, business development services, HACCP planning, marketing, and employee training programs.
Processing Initiative funds will also be used to fund an NABC Project Manager position to direct the regional collaboration. The Initiative will also support the development of scale appropriate processing, advanced processing technologies, and workforce development to support the diversity of agricultural production in the region. A network of processors, supported by the product development facility, will create the volumes necessary to be of value to a large number of farmers in a cluster-based approach to economic development. Additional information and a Position Announcement can be found at the NABC web site:
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