RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Virginia's largest private sector industry is agriculture, and Governor Ralph Northam has designated this week as Virginia Agriculture Week to highlight the diversity of it.
According to a release, Northam will be visiting sites across the Commonwealth to highlight a variety of farming operations, agriculture research and technology, local food systems, and agribusinesses.
He will also be touting the sector's economic impact on Virginia.
“Agriculture has been a central pillar of Virginia's economy for centuries and continues to page the way for smart growth and prosperity in rural and urban communities across the Commonwealth, contributing $70 billion annually o our economy and employing over 334,000 Virginians,” said Northam. “With over 44,000 farms, Virginia has one of the most diverse agricultural sectors in the nation. As we celebrate Virginia Agriculture Week, I am proud to showcase the success of our agriculture industry, the innovative technologies that our farms are utilizing to increase efficiency, and the important work that Virginia farms do as stewards of our land, water and other natural resources.”
In April, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service announced positive trends for farm product market values and encouraging developments for agriculture in Virginia.
These trends include the number of women defined as principal farm operators, more veterans turning to agriculture after their military careers, and younger farmers getting into the industry as a career.