Virginia’s agriculture and forestry industries contribute a combined $70 billion annually to Virginia’s economy and generate more than 400,000 jobs throughout the Commonwealth. Whether it is beer, wine, equine, aquaculture, timber or livestock – Virginia’s agricultural and forestry products are enjoyed locally, used throughout the country and exported around the world.
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). Additionally, the Secretariat provides leadership to special projects and various appointment industry boards and committees.
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.
In addition to agencies, the Secretariat provides general oversight of the Virginia Wine Board, the Virginia Agricultural Council, and the Virginia Marine Products Board.