AgPlus, also called the Central Valley AgPlus Food and Beverage Manufacturing Consortium, was granted an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) Designation by the U.S. Economic Development Administration in July 2015, one of just 24 such regions across the United States. This designation gives the 28-county Central Valley priority consideration for federal grants and technical assistance from the federal government related to the food and beverage manufacturing supply chain. Designated communities receive support from 11 federal agencies with more than $1 billion available in economic development assistance.
What is the goal?
The goal is to accelerate the resurgence of American manufacturing by investing in economically distressed manufacturing hubs across the country.
Why is this important?
California is the largest agricultural economy in the U.S. and among the top 10 globally. The Central Valley – 28 counties located in California’s heartland – plays a dominant role in this economy as America’s Farm to Fork Capital. The AgPlus Consortium advances the region’s agriculture-related manufacturing economy, transforming raw goods into value-added products. The work serves to catalyze the growth and creation of food and beverage manufacturing businesses and middle-skills jobs in the Central Valley, one of the most economically distressed regions in the country. Additionally, innovative technologies that improve the use of water and energy, reduce waste and improve food safety are being incubated in the Valley. In 2015, Consortium members were investing nearly $150 million in the AgPlus ecosystem, with implementation commitments of around $6 million.
How does this improve people’s lives?
Agricultural and food service workers are among the lowest paid professions in the nation. Facilitating job growth and improved wages among these groups increases income equality and works toward a more equitable future for all of us. Our work also boosts manufacturing in our region and across the Valley, bringing about greater economic opportunity, job growth and increased investments. At the same time, by increasing investment for green technologies, deploying on-farm broadband, securing funding for new, cleaner processing facilities and related activities, we improve our farmland preservation efforts, increase the abundance of water, and increase our air quality.
What is Valley Vision’s role?
Valley Vision received funding from the Economic Development Administration to coordinate activities for the 28-county area making up California’s Central Valley, with a particular focus on the seven counties in the Sacramento sub-region. Our activities include ongoing communication with federal agency representatives involved in IMCP, mapping of supplier networks in the Valley, development of a regional finance fund for food and agriculture entrepreneurs, and research and modeling related to aligning workforce development strategies in the food and ag economic cluster.
Valley Vision also received funding from USDA Rural Development California to better connect rural food and ag businesses with financing information and other business development resources like technical assistance, and financing and business development opportunities.
What is the desired impact?
To coordinate activities among the food and ag-producing regions in order to strengthen manufacturing across California’s entire Central Valley. This can deliver a 21st Century agricultural workforce and a sustainable, economically viable manufacturing ecosystem with ample opportunities for entrepreneurs and future generations.
Valley Vision began implementation of the AgPlus IMCP strategy in July 2015. Activities will continue through mid-2018.
Our Partners …
Valley Vision conducts this work alongside partners including the Center for Economic Development at Chico State (coordinating the North State AgPlus sub-region), the Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority (coordinating the Tuolumne and Yosemite sub-region), and the Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State (coordinating the San Joaquin Valley sub-region).