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In 2010, VDACS formally established the Virginia Agricultural Development Officers (VADO) group in an effort to support agriculture- and forestry-focused economic development activities at all levels across the Commonwealth: state, regional, and local. The VADO group typically meets three times annually at locations across the Commonwealth. VADO provides excellent networking and professional development opportunities for those interested in learning more about Commonwealth’s first and third largest private industries: agriculture and forestry.

Following the General Assembly session, VADO members gather in Richmond to hear from the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the VDACS Commissioner on new legislation at the state and federal level, tools available for local governments to support agriculture and forestry businesses, and to discuss industry trends.

During the Summer meeting, VADO members are invited to participate in a one-day field trip with a specific focus and discussions on a particular of agribusiness sector. Past trips have included a forestry-focused meeting at a sawmill, an overview of craft beverage issues at a cidery, and a visit Virginia Tech’s Food Innovation Center.

The Fall VADO event is a multi-day conference held in conjunction with the Maryland Agriculture Marketing Professionals group. The two groups alternate years hosting this conference, which consists of three days of farm and agribusiness tours, agriculture-focused panels, and professional networking and resource-sharing.

Participation in VADO is free and open to all economic development professionals with an interest in the Commonwealth’s agriculture and forestry industries. To be added to our mailing list contact john.kowalewski@vdacs.virginia.gov.

VADO Meetings

Past Agendas Upcoming Events

Resources for Agricultural Development Officers

Ricky Kowalewski, Project Manager, Office of Agriculture and Forestry Development

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