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GO Virginia Region 8 - Enhanced Capacity Building

Partnering with economic development offices, local planning departments, and industrial hemp growers, processors, and dealers, JMU successfully competed for an Enhanced Capacity Building grant from Growth & Opportunity Virginia (GO Virginia), a statewide economic development initiative that encourages collaboration between industry, education, and government to create high-paying jobs and grow private sector investment in the Commonwealth.  The purpose of the JMU Industrial Hemp Initiative is to study the impacts and opportunities of the industrial hemp industry for all of the Shenandoah Valley (GO Virginia Region 8), including the assets and industry resources within the region.  This will be accomplished through three primary goals:

  1. To complete an economic landscape analysis to determine the current state of the industrial hemp market.
  2. To identify and solicit experiences from regional growers and processors through an agricultural data collection process.
  3. To develop a network of practitioners and host a web-based information sharing portal to connect researchers to practitioners.


With industrial hemp offering extensive applications in food consumer products, biomedical/biotechnical industries, and several other sectors, the GO Virginia Region 8 Council prioritized an industrial hemp initiative in its amended Growth and Diversification Plan.  Additionally, a summary of this proposal has been shared with six additional GO Virginia regions and their associated higher education and research institutions.  There is overwhelming support to collaborate on a broader and bigger project across regions, pending the outcome of this research.  As such, findings will be shared across regions, in order to define an impactful, competitive implementation project that can benefit multiple business sectors and regions of the Commonwealth.

Partnering Localities

  • Bath County
  • Highland County
  • Page County
  • Rockbridge County
  • Rockingham County
  • Shenandoah County
  • City of Staunton

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