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VA farmers set to celebrate agriculture’s abundance during National Ag Week

RICHMOND, VA—Virginia farmers work hard year-round to ensure everyone has food, fiber, and fuel, all while being responsible stewards of the land and supporting the economy.

That’s why National Ag Week, March 17-23, is the perfect time to spotlight these contributions, celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture, and spread awareness of its vital role in today’s world.

Virginia ranks in the Top Ten States for apple production (photo courtesy Jeff Ishee)

Whether it’s potatoes on the Eastern Shore, beef in Southwest Virginia, or apples in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia agriculture production is one of the most vibrant and diverse in the nation. That diversity has helped agriculture remain the commonwealth’s largest private industry, bolstering the state with an $82.3 billion annual economic impact and providing more than 381,800 jobs, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

When combined with forestry, the total economic impact reaches over $105 billion. Together, agriculture and forestry provide more than 490,000 jobs in the commonwealth, with each job supporting 1.6 jobs elsewhere in the state.

And Virginia’s producers make it all happen responsibly and sustainably. According to the 2022 Census of Agriculture, farmers voluntarily enrolled over 416,000 acres on more than 2,500 farms in conservation easement programs—protecting the land from development.

“Farmers are at the forefront of sustainability to ensure the land supports us today and into the future,” said Wayne F. Pryor, president of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the state’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. “Their dedication provides us with an abundant source of healthy food and fiber while fostering our thriving communities.”

Many Virginia farmers also employ practices like minimal-till and no-till planting, and cover crops to prevent soil displacement, erosion and retain nutrients. The census found that 35% of Virginia’s cropland—over 1 million of the state’s 2.8 million cropland acres—were planted using no-till practices, and 3,714 farms planted cover crops on 438,751 acres.

According to the census, Virginia’s 38,995 farms span 7.3 million acres, with an average farm size of 187 acres. Most of these farms are family-owned, and several commodities produced by Virginia farmers rank in the top 10 nationally, including apples, broiler chickens, peanuts, tobacco, trout, and turkeys.

In addition to commemorating National Ag Week, many Farm Bureau volunteers will visit local schools to mark Virginia’s Agriculture Literacy Week, March 18-22. Organized by the Foundation for Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom, the annual event coincides with National Ag Week. Volunteers will read Virginia AITC’s 2024 Book of the Year, Logan’s Greenhouse by JaNay Brown-Wood, and educate youth about the importance of farming and the sources of their food and fiber.


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