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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.
*Misc. Crops includes vegetables, barley, mushrooms, sunflowers, rye, sorghum, seed crops and other field crops.
**All Other Animals includes horses, aquaculture and all other livestock.
Source: USDA ERS data as of December 2021
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.
Source: 2019 NASS and ERS data.
Source: 2014 NASS and ERS data.
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.
Source: Global Trade Information Services, Inc.