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Virginia Agriculture Facts

Agriculture and forestry were Virginia’s first industries, and are still the cornerstone of our state’s economy. Agriculture in Virginia provides hundreds of thousands of jobs. Virginia farms come in all sizes and produce a wide variety of crops and animals for food, fiber and fuel.

Virginia Agriculture at a Glance

Economic Impact:

$52B

Annually

Farmland covers

8.1M acres

32% of Virginia

Agriculture creates

over 800,000

jobs in Virginia

Economic Impact of Agriculture in Virginia

grain being loaded into a truck

Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry by far. The industry has an economic impact of $52 billion annually and provides nearly 311,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. The industries of agriculture and forestry together have a total economic impact of $91 billion and provide nearly 415,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.6 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy. According to a 2013 economic impact study, production agriculture employs nearly 55,000 farmers and workers in Virginia and generates approximately $3.3 billion in total output.

The industries of agriculture and forestry together have a total economic impact of $70 billion and provide nearly 415,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.

In addition, value-added industries that depend on farm commodities employ more than 67,000 workers. When the employment and value-added impact of agriculture and forestry are considered together, they make up 8.1 percent of the Commonwealth’s total gross domestic product. In addition to tangible benefits such as farm cash receipts and jobs, agriculture provides many intangible benefits. These include recreation, tourism, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, flood mitigation, improved water quality and soil stabilization.

Virginia's Top 10 Agricultural Commodities

Crop / Livestock Farm Cash Reciepts
Broilers $918M
Cattle & Calves $714M
Milk $478M
Turkeys $326M
Greenhouse, Nursery & Other Crops* $298M
Soybeans $259M
Corn & Grain $219M
All Other Animals+ $216M
Hay $119M
Tobacco (Unprocessed Leaf) $117M

*Misc. Crops includes Greenhouse/Nursery, roughly 90 percent of the total, plus mushrooms, sunflowers, rye, sorghum, seed crops and other field crops.

+All Other Animals includes horses, aquaculture and all other livestock.

Source: 2014 USDA NASS and ERS data figures rounded to the nearest million dollars.

Virginia Farm Facts

Virginia has 44,700 farms covering 8.1 million acres; 32% of all Virginia.

90% of Virginia farms are owned by families or individuals, not corporations.

Individual farmers provide food for 6X as many people as they did in the 1960s.

Become a Friend of the Farm™

When you become a member of Virginia Farm Bureau, you support farming, agriculture and the Virginia way of life.

Virginia Agricultural Diversity

Chickens in a field

Virginia’s agricultural production is one of the most diverse in the nation. Many Virginia commodities and products rank in the top 10 among all U.S. states. These include leaf tobacco, 3rd; fresh market tomatoes, apples, grapes and Christmas trees*, all rank 7th; and peanuts, 8th. Livestock rankings based on number of head include turkeys, 6th in the nation, and broilers, 10th. The exceptional diversity of Virginia agriculture is reflected in this chart showing the distribution of farm cash receipts for the state’s many and varied commodities.

*Christmas tree figures come from the 2012 Census of Agriculture. These figures are only collected in the Census of Agriculture which is conducted every five years.

Commodity Percentage
Poultry & Eggs 33%
Field Crops 22%
Meat Animals 19%
Milk 12%
Misc. Crops 7%
Misc. Livestock 5%
Vegetables 2%
Fruits & Nuts 1%

Source: 2014 NASS and ERS data.

Virginia's Top 10 Agricultural Counties

Country Farm Receipts
Rockingham $659M
Augusta $232M
Accomack $172M
Page $141M
Shenandoah $129M
Amelia $100M
Northampton $93M
Orange $91M
Pittsylvania $87M
Southampton $79M
Map of top ag counties in virginia

Virginia Agriculture in the Global Marketplace

Agricultural and forestry exports reached $3.19 billion in 2015, solidifying the Commonwealth’s status as the second largest agricultural exporter on the East Coast. Virginia’s top three export markets in 2015 were China, Canada and Switzerland, all filling the same positions they have held since 2013. China imported more than $694 million in agricultural purchases, while Canada totaled more than $291 million and Switzerland imported approximately $204 million in 2015.

Agricultural and forestry exports reached $3.19 billion in 2015, solidifying the Commonwealth’s status as the second largest agricultural exporter on the East Coast.

These countries and many others are purchasing a variety of Virginia agricultural commodities, wood products, seafood, and specialty food and beverage items. Virginia products are promoted in the international marketplace by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services through its Virginia headquarters and a global network of trade representatives in Canada, Central America, China, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Southeast Asia and the Middle East/Northern Africa.

Country Exports
China $694M
Canada $291M
Switzerland $204M
Mexico $179M
Japan $175M
United Kingdom $134M
Morocco $103M
South Korea $94M
Taiwan $90M
Indonesia $70M
Russia $68M
Vietnam $65M
Saudi Arabia $63M
Belgium $57M
Colombia $55M
Thailand $52M
Venezuela $47M
Hong Kong $46M
Cuba $42M
Philippines $38M

Source: Global Trade Information Services, Inc.

Help Virginia Agriculture Prosper

Your Virginia Farm Bureau Membership directly supports farming and agriculture in your community and across the state through education, programs and advocacy. Join now and become a Friend of the Farm™ today.

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