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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: state, regional and local. Participation in VADO is open to all economic development professionals with an interest in the Commonwealth’s agriculture and forestry industries.

VADO meetings provide excellent networking and professional development opportunities for those interested in learning more about Commonwealth’s first and third largest private industries: agriculture and Forestry. Participants in the VADO group are diverse and come from both urban and rural communities.

The VADO group typically meets three times annually at locations across the Commonwealth.  Following the General Assembly session, VADO members gather in Richmond to hear from the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the VDACS Commissioner and to discuss industry trends, tools available for local governments to support agriculture and forestry businesses and new legislation at the state and federal level.

During the Spring/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 sawmill, an overview of craft beverage issues at a cidery, and a visit Virginia Tech’s Food Innovation Center and discussion of resources for specialty food manufacturers.

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.

For information about upcoming meetings of the Virginia Agriculture Development Officers group and to be added to our mailing list, please contact:

Rachel Meyers, Manager, Office of Agriculture and Forestry Development

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