In 2011, a dedicated group of more than 300 stakeholders came together over 18 months to create a blueprint for supporting the rural economy and ensuring the future of rural Loudoun. Released in February of 2013, “The Long View; A Business Development Plan for Loudoun’s Rural Economy” (The Long View), provided a series of foundational and programmatic strategies that helped guide the work of the Rural Economic Development Council and the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development. The intent of the plan was to “provide a positive policy and programmatic support environment that enhanced the rural economy, encouraged private investment, supported greater profitability in rural enterprises, and to protect critical working landscapes.”
The agriculture-based and agritourism-based businesses of western Loudoun play an important, multi-dimensional role in our community. Not only do these enterprises generate additional revenue for the county, but they also play a key cultural role in our efforts to maintain our county’s physical beauty and rural assets. Support of successful farming operations is one of the best land conservation tools we have, hence much of Loudoun Economic Development’s efforts are focused on helping landowners keep their farmland as farmland.
Loudoun County is committed to enhancing business opportunities in the rural economy, which accounts for more than two-thirds of Loudoun’s land. As the “The Long View” report shows, Loudoun benefits from long-established agricultural industries, but at that time, Loudoun was also seeing burgeoning value-add rural businesses that were still being integrated into the county’s overall business strategies. Since the report’s release, those value-add industries have been fully integrated into the county and department’s business development strategies.
To that end, Loudoun Economic Development continues to work with landowners and farmers to increase their profits through education and outreach programs, introducing farmers to innovative practices and creating and marketing direct-sale opportunities such as the “Take Loudoun Home” campaign and the Loudoun Made Loudoun Grown Marketplace, an e-commerce site provided at no cost to producers to offer a direct link to consumers. Loudoun Economic Development also has expanded its commitment to rural businesses through a staff restructuring, strengthening ties with local partners and making sure that the strategies put forth in “The Long View” (as well as its predecessor study, 1998’s “The 200,000-Acre Solution, A Rural Economic Development Plan by the Rural Task Force”) remain foundational concepts in our ongoing efforts to support rural Loudoun. As the following report shows, the majority of the nine major strategies have been implemented.
The remaining recommendations have been updated and, where appropriate, have been embedded in the DED strategic plan. DED appreciates the ongoing support of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Loudoun County Administration and Government, the REDC, Virginia Cooperative Extension – Loudoun County, Visit Loudoun and the many other partners and stakeholders who have played a key role in the implementation and success of “The Long View.”
Download the 2021 REBDS Update Report