Agriculture was Virginia’s first industry, and agriculture and forestry are the cornerstone of the state’s current economy, driving much of the activity in other industries such as manufacturing, retail and wholesale, trade and public and private services.
A recent impact study determined that the total economic impact of agriculture and forestry in Virginia came to $79 billion in output or sales. Agriculture accounted for about $55 billion of the total amount. In addition, the value-added impact of agriculture and forestry was calculated at $37 billion—about 10 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product—and the total employment in those two sectors came to 501,000 workers, 10.3 percent of the state’s workforce.
Virginia is geographically diverse in its landscape, climate and agricultural regions. Its top farm commodities in terms of sales are broiler chickens, beef and milk, but there are hundreds of other commodities grown or raised here as well.