In November NABC announced new 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.
To implement this new project, NABC has hired Larry Pitts as Project Manager. Larry has 15 years of experience managing food processing plants and has experience working with products that are bottled, canned, chilled, frozen and aseptically packaged. Larry is available to NABC Clients to assist with all phases of processing from initial plant layout to improvement of an existing operation.
Larry will direct the development of a regional processing and product development facility. The facility will be available to help local farmers and processors add value to their products by providing services for packaging, pasteurizing, freezing, storage and distribution. The new product center will also serve as a technical resource center for farmers and processors. Larry and regional collaborators will provide expertise in processing, business development services, HACCP planning, marketing, employee training programs, and more.
Supported by the product development facility, an emerging network of processors will be prepared to work with larger volumes of product, and serve a large number of farmers. This cluster-based approach to economic development will strengthen regional relationships and the agricultural industry in northwest Washington.
The Northwest Washington Agricultural Processing Initiative is funded by a USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) and matching Washington State Department of Commerce funds to implement the program.