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Virginia’s agriculture, forestry sectors recover from COVID-19 pandemic

Rebecca Barnabi
Photo by Lori Chamberlin for Virginia Department of Forestry.

Agriculture and forestry are still robust industries in Virginia despite obstacles presented by the pandemic.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced yesterday that both industries recovered lost ground.

Youngkin spoke in front of more than 400 farmers at the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. on November 30 about the resilience of agriculture and forestry in Virginia.

“Gov. Youngkin’s background has not been in agriculture, but he certainly understands the importance of what we do, and he supports your efforts across the commonwealth,” Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr said in a press release.

A recently released economic impact study from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service concluded that agriculture and forestry contributions have grown from $91 billion in 2016 to $105 billion. Jobs increased with 12,000 entering both workforces, creating a total of 490,000 jobs.

“Everyone in this room plays a vital role in ensuring that our agriculture and forestry industries remain strong and deliver the economic growth and development we depend upon that is arguably at the core of Virginia’s history,” Youngkin said. “Now how can we ensure these numbers will continue to grow as fast as they possibly can?”

Youngkin told farmers that Virginia is “a worldwide agriculture leader because of your hard work, dedication and drive to deliver the best products possible. And, as the one who gets to be Virginia’s biggest salesman, thank you for making my job easier.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.