VDACS News Releases
March 16, 2018
Celebrate the Success of Virginia Agriculture
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686
March 18 - 24, 2018 is Virginia Agriculture Week and the ideal time to celebrate the success of Virginia’s leading private industry, agriculture. Agriculture has been the backbone of the state's economy for more than four centuries and a recent study concluded the annual economic impact to be $70 billion.
First, celebrate the beauty and bounty of Virginia's farmland. The average farm size is 181 acres and nearly 90 percent of Virginia farms are owned and operated by individuals or families. There are 44,800 farms in Virginia covering 8.1 million acres or 32 percent of Virginia's total land area.
Second, celebrate the driving force behind Virginia's agriculture industry - the farmer. The typical Virginia farmer is 59.5 years old. About 17 percent of Virginia’s primary farm operators are female. According to the American Farm Bureau, one U.S. farm feeds 165 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is on track to increase to 10 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow in excess of 70 percent more food than they currently do.
Third, celebrate the diversity of Virginia agriculture. What do Virginia farmers produce? Think of chickens, cantaloupes, cattle and calves, corn, cotton, eggs, flowers, fruits, goats, grain, hay, hogs, honey, horses, milk, mushrooms, nursery products, peanuts, potatoes, sheep and wool, corn, soybeans, barley, tobacco, turkeys, vegetables, watermelons - and much, much more. Many of these products are further processed into items used in construction, transportation, personal care, health care, sports and printing or are turned into animal feed, fertilizer, car care products, lubricants, soaps, detergents, adhesives, glue, ethanol, nail polish, lip balm, shaving cream, toothpaste, vaccines, medicines, newsprint, paints and varnishes. Diversity is definitely high on the list of Virginia farmers.
Virginia agriculture is a global player, too. About 45 percent of the state’s agricultural and forestry product exports are directed to the Asia/Pacific and Western Europe markets with the remaining going to the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and Mexico. China is the number one export destination for Virginia agricultural and forestry products.
In 2017, cash receipts from exports were at $2.64 billion. Virginia’s top ten products are soybeans, wood products, unmanufactured tobacco, pork, soy meal, processed food and beverages (not including alcoholic beverages), poultry, soybean oil, wood fuel and animal feed.
And last, as the backbone of the state's economy for more than four centuries and as an industry that has become one of the most productive in the world, agriculture continues to be an integral part of our lives. Take time during Virginia Agriculture Week to celebrate each success agriculture has to offer us all.
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