West Virginia Code
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) It is an important public policy to attract new and expand existing agricultural businesses and value-added facilities producing or further developing the availability of locally grown food and locally produced products.
(2) Agriculture-based businesses are necessary for diversifying the state’s economy.
(3) Because of the unique nature of these businesses, agriculture-based businesses struggle to obtain appropriate capital for development or expansion and require unique tools and guidance to navigate the hurdles associated with establishment and growth.
(b) Therefore, the Legislature hereby creates the West Virginia Agriculture Investment Program to accomplish these important public policy goals.
(a) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Agriculture, or his or her designee.
(b) “Department” means the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.
(c) “Fund” means the Agriculture Investment Fund created by this article.
(d) “Program” means the West Virginia Agriculture Investment Program created by this article.
(a) There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special revenue account to be known as the West Virginia Agriculture Investment Fund. The fund shall be administered by the Department of Agriculture. The fund shall consist of all moneys that may be appropriated and designated for the fund by the Legislature, and all interest or other return earned from investment of the fund. The fund may receive any appropriations, gifts, grants, contributions, or other money from any source that is designated for deposit into the fund.
(b) Expenditures from the fund shall be for the purposes set forth in this article and are not authorized from collections but are to be made only in accordance with appropriation by the Legislature and in accordance with the provisions of §12-3-1 et seq. of this code and upon fulfillment of the provisions of §11B-2-1 et seq. of this code. Any balance, including accrued interest and other returns, remaining in the fund at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the General Revenue Fund, but shall remain in the fund and be expended as provided by this section.
(a) The West Virginia Agriculture Investment Program is hereby authorized. The purpose of this program is to attract and support new and expanding agriculture businesses and facilities producing or further developing products made, grown, or processed in West Virginia.
(b) The program shall be administered by the commissioner or his or her designee.
(c) Moneys may be awarded by the commissioner from the fund as either grants or loans.
(d) The criteria for awarding such grants or loans shall include, but are not limited to:
(1) The number of direct and indirect jobs expected to be created;
(2) The anticipated amount of private capital investment;
(3) The anticipated additional state tax revenue expected to accrue to the state and affected localities as a result of the capital investment and jobs created;
(4) The anticipated amount of West Virginia-grown, processed, or produced agricultural products utilized or promoted by the project; and
(5) The projected impact on agricultural producers.
(e) The commissioner may establish a committee to assist in the administration of the program. Members of the committee shall receive no compensation for their service on the committee but shall be entitled to receive reimbursement for expenses in accordance with the Department of Agriculture travel regulations.
The commissioner shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code. Those rules shall, at a minimum:
(1) Identify the types of individuals and entities that are eligible for grants or loans from the program;
(2) Provide for the selection of members of any committee established by the commissioner to assist in administration of the program;
(3) Establish criteria for making grants or loans: Provided, That the commissioner shall consult with the Department of Commerce before proposing such criteria;
(4) Establish procedures and requirements for grant or loan applications; and
(5) Establish the administration, record-keeping, and reporting requirements for entities that receive grants or loans from the program.