Virginia’s, nation’s largest industry to be celebrated March 18-24
The national observance encourages Americans to understand how food and fiber are produced; appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products; and value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
“Virginia’s farmers are proud of their role in providing food and other important products for our nation and the world,” said Wayne F. Pryor, president of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and a Goochland County beef and grain producer. “We’re also proud to take part in Ag Day and Ag Week activities that raise awareness of agriculture in our communities and benefit our neighbors in need.”
In Virginia, some county Farm Bureaus will mark the occasion by donating nonperishable food items and other supplies and making monetary donations to regional food banks, local food pantries and Ronald McDonald House charities.
Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry by far, having an annual economic impact of $70 billion and providing more than 334,000 jobs statewide. The state’s agriculture and forestry industries have a combined economic impact of more than $91 billion and provide more than 442,000 jobs. Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.7 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy.
The state’s top 10 agricultural commodities in terms of annual farm cash receipts are broiler chickens ($733 million); cattle and calves ($416 million); milk ($386 million); turkeys ($308 million); greenhouse and nursery products ($294 million); soybeans ($209 million); corn for grain ($200 million); animals other than cattle, poultry and swine ($173 million); hay ($119 million); and tobacco ($110 million).