Celebrate the season with Virginia-grown products
Story courtesy of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation
As the weather warms, spring produce ripens and people venture out to pick strawberries or visit farmers’ markets to buy locally grown herbs, spinach, asparagus and more.
That’s why spring is also the perfect time to celebrate the diversity of Virginia agriculture, and the farmers who make it all happen.
Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, and it generates over $82 billion in economic impact each year and creates 381,000 jobs.
That impact can be credited in part to Virginia’s 41,500 farms, which occupy 7.7 million acres from the far southwest to the Shenandoah Valley to the coastal plains.
Virginia’s agriculture industry generates over $82 billion and creates 381,000 jobs.
This diverse range of climates and landscapes allows farmers to cultivate a little bit of everything — from broccoli and watermelon to sheep and shellfish.
Many of these Virginia commodities even rank among the top 10 in the U.S. In 2021, Virginia ranked third nationally to produce tobacco; fourth for seafood; sixth for apples, pumpkins and turkeys; eighth for peanuts; and ninth for broiler chickens.
Virginia agriculture spans five centuries. And as Virginia products make their way across the nation and the world, some have become synonymous with the Old Dominion, like country hams and Virginia peanuts.
TOP FIVE COMMODITIES:
- Broiler chickens – $956.5 million
- Cattle – $381.4 million
- Turkeys – $345.2 million
- USDA-classified “other” crops like vegetables, barley, mushrooms, sunflowers – $321.9 million
- Milk and other dairy products – $297.8 million
TOP FIVE AGRICULTURAL TRADE PARTNERS:
- China – $1.36 billion
- Canada – $362 million
- Taiwan – $161 million
- Mexico – $139.6 million
- Japan – $129 million
VIRGINIA FARM DEMOGRAPHICS:
- The typical farmer is 58.5 years old.
- About 36% of Virginia’s primary farm operators are women.
- White farmers account for more than 68,000 of Virginia producers; Black farmers account for nearly 1,800; and Hispanic and Latino farmers account for about 800.
- New and beginning farmers (10 years or less on any farm) account for 27% of all producers.
TOP FIVE FARM COUNTIES (BY ACREAGE):
- Augusta – 290,911 acres
- Pittsylvania – 246,322 acres
- Rockingham – 228,542 acres
- Fauquier – 216,666 acres
- Bedford – 211,087 acres
Did you know that the commonwealth’s farmers generated exports worth more than $4 billion in 2021? In fact, Virginia-grown agricultural products are exported to 152 countries, from Argentina to Zimbabwe!
TOP FIVE AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS: (BASED ON MARKET VALUE)
- Soybeans – $1.13 billion
- Pork – $621.8 million
- Edible pork and beef offal – $240.7 million
- Soybean meal – $233.8 million
- Poultry – $200.3 million
Most Virginia farms average around 186 acres, and family is at the heart of most, with 97% of those farms owned and operated by families.
Information was gathered from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
To find a farm store or farmers’ market near you, visit virginiagrown.com.