The New River Valley Regional Commission (Commission) provides economic development planning in the New River Valley communities and serves as the federally designated Economic Development District (EDD) for the area. The Commission works alongside other regional and local organizations including the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance, New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Investment Board, Virginia’s First Regional Industrial Facilities Authority, and the New River Valley Development Corporation. Through these and other partnerships, the Commission supports efforts to expand existing businesses and help attract new businesses to the region.
In addition to partnering with regional and local economic development organizations, the Commission is also responsible for maintaining the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), developing a regional plan for agriculture and agritourism, and completing other local and regional economic development work. More information about the Commission’s economic development work is provided below.
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)
The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is the main focus of the Commission’s economic development planning efforts. The CEDS is a planning document used to broadly inform economic development activities and desires in the region. The CEDS contains an analysis of the economic status of the region, goals and objectives related to economic development, and most importantly, projects identified by local governments and a CEDS Committee of public and private representatives. The Commission reviews and approves the CEDS document annually. The document qualifies the region for funding assistance from the US Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration (EDA).
New River Valley Agriculture and Agritourism Strategic Plan
For the communities of the New River Valley, agritourism and agribusiness are vehicles for increasing community wealth, providing a broader market base for locally produced products, and diversifying the mix of products and services available to visitors. The purpose of the New River Valley Agriculture and Agritourism Strategic Plan is two-fold: 1) gain a better understanding of what the current agriculture assets are in the community; and 2) develop a plan of work that will support and enhance agriculture and agritourism efforts in the region.
Agriculture is Virginia’s largest and oldest industry, generating over $52 billion annually. The agriculture sector provides more than 350,000 jobs, consists of over 46,000 farms, and when combined with forestry, accounts for about 8.1% of the state’s GDP. Almost 90% of Virginia’s farms are family owned and operated. In the New River Valley, beef and forestry are the largest agriculture sectors.
Developing the Strategic Plan was a collaborative effort, funded by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Giles County, Montgomery County, and Pulaski County. The process was led by a Steering Committee consisting of local farmers, agribusiness owners, agritourism operators, Virginia Cooperative Extension staff, and local government planning, tourism, and administrative staff. Key project deliverables are provided below.
In addition, previous versions of the ‘Vision 2020’ long-term planning process, which complements the CEDS, are available at: https://nrvrc.org/what-we-do/economic-development/new-river-valley-vision-2020/
The Commission also provides technical assistance to communities in order to develop projects benefitting the region. Services include grant writing, custom labor market and economic data analysis, local and special purpose strategic planning and studies, and coordination of regional economic development initiatives in the areas of tourism, small business development, workforce development, transportation and transit systems, and more. Examples include:
The New River Valley Telecommunications Plan, which details regional priorities for improving broadband access and other regional communications systems. Available at:
The Explore New River Valley website, a region-wide resource for tourists and visitors to learn more about New River Valley attractions, events and amenities for visitors. More at: www.explorenewrivervalley.com .
The Commission helps to administer the New River Valley Development Corporation’s revolving loan fund for small businesses. More at: www.nrvdc.org/dcfinance.html