VDACS News Releases
June 12, 2023
Celebrate the Commonwealth’s Agricultural Industry During Virginia Agriculture Week
Contact: Michael Wallace
Governor Glenn Youngkin has proclaimed June 11 – 17, 2023 as Virginia Agriculture Week, to recognize and celebrate the Commonwealth’s agricultural community. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) encourages the public to join in recognizing the Commonwealth’s largest private industry by purchasing locally produced agricultural goods.
“Virginia’s agricultural industry contributes over $82 billion to our economy, with more than $43 billion in value-added impact, and provides over 381,000 jobs throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia’s agricultural producers are vitally important as they provide the food, fiber and fuel we use every day,” said Governor Youngkin. “I encourage all Virginians to applaud and support the state’s agricultural community.”
According to the USDA National Statistics Service data, the Commonwealth is home to approximately 41,500 farms that cover 7.7 million acres in the state. Virginia’s diverse agricultural production includes livestock, field crops, fruits, vegetables, poultry, dairy, greenhouse and nursery, aquaculture, and vineyards. When compared with other states, the Commonwealth ranks among the top ten in the nation for several commodities, including third for the production of leaf tobacco; fourth for seafood landings; sixth for turkeys, apples, and pumpkins; eighth for peanuts; and ninth for broilers measured in head and pounds.
In 2022, Virginia exported more than $5 billion worth of agricultural and forestry products to markets around the world, including Canada, Egypt, China, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Switzerland, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
“Virginia farmers and agribusinesses play a critical role in providing a safe, abundant, and affordable food and fiber supply, and function as a growth engine and source of jobs throughout rural Virginia. The industry also provides green spaces, recreation, tourism, flood mitigation, improved water quality, soil stabilization, land preservation, and wildlife habitat,” said Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “I hope all Virginians take the opportunity to show appreciation for Virginia’s agricultural community by thanking farmers and choosing Virginia Grown products.”
Virginia farmers are constantly striving to improve agricultural production. By using innovative technology, the latest scientific information and a lot of hard work, farmers have increased agricultural efficiency. In the 1930s, one farmer supplied enough food for 9.8 people in the U.S. and abroad; by the 1960s, the number had grown to 25.8 people. In the 1990s, each farmer was feeding 129 people, and today a farmer is able to feed his or her own family plus 155 additional people around the world.
“The success of the Commonwealth’s agricultural industry is showcased in the innovative technologies and management practices that Virginia farmers utilize to increase efficiency, and serve as stewards of land, water, and other natural resources,” said VDACS Commissioner Joseph Guthrie. “Virginia Agriculture Week is a great opportunity to celebrate local family farm businesses and purchase products that are grown or produced in the Commonwealth.”
Consumers can identify locally grown or locally produced agribusiness products by looking for the Virginia Grown and Virginia’s Finest logos on products in grocery stores, specialty stores, and farmers markets across the state. These products range from produce to meats, snacks, sauces, craft beverages and more. Virginia agribusinesses also produce non-food items such as firewood, plants, wool, and more. Consumers can visit their local farmers market or roadside stand for some of the freshest, best tasting food available, or find a local retailer by searching www.VirginiaGrown.com.
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