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:



Farmland covers

7.8M acres

Agriculture creates

nearly 334,000

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 $70 billion annually and provides nearly 334,000 jobs in the commonwealth. The industries of agriculture and forestry together have a total economic impact of $91 billion and provide more than 442,000 jobs in the commonwealth. Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.7 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy. According to a 2017 economic impact study, production agriculture employs nearly 54,000 farmers and workers in Virginia and generates approximately $3.8 billion in total output.

The industries of agriculture and forestry together have a total economic impact of $91 billion and provide more than 442,000 jobs in the commonwealth.

In addition, value-added industries that depend on farm commodities employ more than 69,000 workers. When the employment and value-added impact of agriculture and forestry are considered together, they make up 9.5 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 $875M
Cattle & Calves $463M
Dairy products & milk $335M
Turkeys $296M
Greenhouse/nursery $295M
All Other Animals* $215M
Soybeans $208M
Corn $170M
Hay $116M
Tobacco $109M

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

Source: 2017 USDA NASS and ERS data figures rounded to the nearest million dollars.

Virginia Farm Facts

Virginia has 43,225 farms covering 7.8 million acres.

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.

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

Virginia Agricultural Diversity


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.

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 5 Agricultural Counties

County Land in Farms (acres)
Augusta 290,911
Pittsylvania 246,322
Rockingham 228,542
Fauquier 216,666
Bedford 211,087
Map of top ag counties in virginia

Virginia Agriculture in the Global Marketplace

Agricultural and forestry exports reached $2.97 billion in 2018. Virginia’s top three export markets in 2018 were Canada, China and Switzerland. Canada imported more than $342 million in agricultural purchases, while China totaled more than $235 million, and Switzerland imported approximately $209 million in 2018.

Agricultural and forestry exports reached $2.97 billion in 2018, 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.

County Exports
Canada $342M
China $235M
Switzerland $210M
Netherlands $132M
Italy $120M
Taiwan $115M
Mexico $111M
Morocco $103M
Vietnam $91M
Indonesia $86M
United Kingdom $70M
South Korea $66M
Thailand $60M
Peru $58M
Saudi Arabia $57M

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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