USDA awards Greenbrier Valley EDC $50,000 for Bio Development Opportunities

September 12, 2022

(Maxwelton, WV) – Senator Shelly Capito and Senator Joe Manchin announced today that the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation has been awarded $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business Development Grant Program (RBDG) to explore rural biobased economic development opportunities in the Greenbrier Valley.

The project will evaluate and certify the Greenbrier Valley as a Bioeconomy Development Opportunity (BDO) Zone, strengthen the ability to support new biofuel, renewable chemical, and bio-gas manufacturing plants, and attract new markets to invest in local products and services to create new jobs. The BDO Initiative is a certification and regional risk rating program that accelerates biobased economic development. More information:

“We’re thankful to Senator’s Capito and Manchin, and the USDA for this opportunity to explore new economic options,” says Ruthana Beezley, Executive Director for the Greenbrier Valley EDC.  “Working through the process of evaluating the quality and quantity of woody feed stock available for bio-development companies’ will answer a lot of questions for our region. This process will build on our existing assets in the wood and wood product industry to attract complementary industries, connecting us with legitimate leads.”

Greenbrier Valley EDC will be working with EcoStrat to reach zone certification. Ecostrat ( is a North American leader in assessing, developing, optimizing, and managing biomass supply chains. The process is expected to take approximately 24 weeks.   

“One of the first things we’ll need to do is to put together a local advisory committee for this project,” says Beezley. “And we already have some great stakeholders and industry support. But we encourage folks to reach out to us if interested.”  Interested parties can email

Support from the offices of West Virginia’s Senators was important in awarding the project: 

“There are fantastic opportunities for economic development all across our state, and Greenbrier County is no exception.  I saw this firsthand when I visited The Schoolhouse Hotel and Mountaineer Steer in White Sulphur Springs earlier this year, and I’m glad to see more funding heading to the region to support more economic development opportunities within the sawmill, transportation, and forestry industries. I will continue to fight for the resources to help create and maintain a healthy business climate that our counties need to grow and thrive.”

–U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito 

“Investing in our communities spurs economic growth and creates good-paying, long term jobs, which is why I’m pleased USDA is supporting the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation’s efforts to accelerate local business development. The awards announced today will boost the forestry, transportation and sawmill industries across southern West Virginia, and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of the investment. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to advocate for funding to bolster rural economies across the Mountain State.”

–U.S Senator Joe Manchin


The Greenbrier Valley EDC’s mission is to strategically facilitate economic growth and higher wages through collaborative partnerships, while preserving the natural beauty and quality of life in the Greenbrier Valley region.