The two-day conference is co-hosted by Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, and the Port of Virginia. The event will bring together producers, agribusinesses, entrepreneurs, exporters, foreign ambassadors and government ministers, educational leadership, state and federal government officials, and others to discuss challenges and opportunities for global agricultural exports.
“For a decade, the Annual Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade has highlighted the vital role agriculture and forestry exports play in the Commonewealth,” said Governor Northam.“Global trade is critical to a strong and diverse economy, and attention to growth and opportunities for our largest private sectors is a top priority in my administration.”
“We are excited to celebrate 10 years of this prestigious conference,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “The topics of discussion are timely in our rapidly changing world of trade and foreign policy, and it is more critical than ever that Virginia maintain its status as a powerhouse of trade on the Eastern Seaboard. Agriculture and forestry, our largest private industries, are dependent on these markets and we are working hard to ensure continued opportunity.”
Governor Northam will speak about his priorities and objectives for agriculture and forestry trade at the conference on Monday, March 5. The Governor will discuss his administration’s plans to promote Virginia agriculture and forestry products around the world and his dedication to ensuring Virginia’s position as a leader in export promotion of these products. Virginia is one of the top agriculture and forestry exporting states on the East Coast. In 2016, the Commonwealth exported $2.77 billion in these products, a significant contribution to the incomes of Virginia farmers, agribusinesses, forestry companies, the Port of Virginia, and the many businesses involved in transportation and logistics.
Other conference speakers include: Jim Perdue, CEO of Perdue Farms; Ted McKinney, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs; Chief U.S. Trade Negotiator; Zippy Duvall, President of American Farm Bureau; David MacNaughton, Ambassador of Canada to the U.S.; Geronimo Gutierrez, Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S.; Japanese and other senior U.S. trade officials; representatives from the U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation; and Bettina Ring, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.