Virginia’s agriculture and forestry industries contribute a combined $70 billion a year to Virginia’s economy and generate 400,000 jobs throughout the Commonwealth. Whether it is beer, wine, equine, or aquiculture, timber, and livestock – Virginia’s agricultural products are exported around the world, used throughout the country, and enjoyed locally.
The Secretariat of Agriculture and Forestry is the voice of two of Virginia’s largest industries. According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, agriculture and forestry have a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually. Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry induces over $17 billion. The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.
The Secretariat oversees and provides policy guidance to three agencies – the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF), and the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC).
The Secretariat also provides leadership of the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID), which is administered by VDACS, as well as the Governor’s agricultural export initiative, which seeks to increase exports of Virginia’s agricultural and forest product exports into the global marketplace and make the Commonwealth the East Coast capital of agricultural exports.
Together with the Secretary of Natural Resources, the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry represents the Commonwealth with regard to activities involving the Chesapeake Bay Program and its efforts to improve water quality. The secretariat also works with producers to assist them in implementing best management practices that will improve water quality and maintain farm production.
In addition to agencies, the Secretariat provides general oversight of the Virginia Wine Board, the Virginia Agricultural Council, and the Virginia Marine Products Board.
The Virginia Racing Commission of the Commonwealth of Virginia seeks a new Executive Director