Agricultural Innovations

Agricultural Innovations is an RCBI initiative to improve opportunities for the farming and agricultural economy across West Virginia. The initiative supports and enhances a vibrant local food system powered by entrepreneurship and innovation.

RCBI helps producers, distributors and buyers expand their network through advanced manufacturing practices and product discovery. In addition, our experts guide our clients on how to apply LEAN initiatives in the agricultural setting.

If you have an innovative idea for the agriculture industry and could use some assistance contact Evan Nelson here or at 304.781.1657.

Southern West Virginia Maple Technical Assistance Program

RCBI is partnering with syrup producer Toms Creek Family Farm of Wayne and the Williamson Health and Wellness Center to expand maple syrup production in Lincoln, Mingo and Wayne counties by helping 15 entrepreneurs in the region tap into the lucrative market.

The program provides each new business with

  • equipment and training they need to launch and sustain their businesses
  • tubing and taps for 20 to 30 maple trees
  • a stove specifically designed and manufactured by RCBI to efficiently boil the sap

Greg Christian, co-owner of Toms Creek, is instructing participants on all aspects of syrup production, RCBI’s entrepreneur services team is helping each producer develop a comprehensive lean business plan, and RCBI’s lean agricultural specialist is training them to manage their operations in the most efficient manner to reduce waste and maximize profits.

The program is supported by a $50,000 Rural Business Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

LEAN Agriculture

RCBI’s Lean Agricultural Systems focus on creating more value for the customer while also reducing waste in the creation process. Implementing LEAN initiatives creates a high level of value to the end customer.

The Lean Agricultural team uses lean value stream maps, the 5S methodology, and a variety of other tools and systems to get the most out of the time and space owned by the agriculture entity.   

For more information about the Maple Technical Assistance Program or Lean Agriculture Systems , contact Evan Nelson, RCBI’s Manager of Agricultural Innovations & Quality Specialist here or at 304.781.1657.

West Virginia Craft Beverage Trail Feasibility Study

With funding from an Appalachian Regional Commission Power Award Grant, a comprehensive study into the feasibility of a craft beverage tourism trail in West Virginia was conducted by DSG Advisors, a consulting group with expertise in corporate location strategy and economic development best practices. DSG is led by Don Schjeldahl, who has worked with brewers and distillers across the country, including the $200 million Sierra Nevada Brewing project near Asheville, North Carolina.

The study identified assets already existing in the region and outlined four priority initiatives to jump-start implementation. Those initiatives include defining and packaging the brand, developing the product offerings, marketing and promoting the trail strategically and creating an organizational structure to champion the initiatives.

View the Study