RICHMOND, Va. — Gov. Terry McAuliffe will co-host the 9th Annual Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade on March 6-7 at the Richmond Marriott Hotel. The two-day conference is co-hosted by Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and the Port of Virginia. The event will bring together producers, agribusinesses, entrepreneurs, exporters, foreign ambassadors and government ministers, land-grant university leadership, state and federal government officials and others to discuss challenges and opportunities for global agricultural exports.
“I am pleased to announce the 9th Annual Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade, the Commonwealth’s marquee event highlighting the vital role agriculture and forestry exports play in my efforts to build a new Virginia economy,” Gov. McAuliffe said, speaking about the conference. “Trade is crucial to the health of our economy and our Virginia agriculture and forestry businesses and it has never been more important to ensure open and robust dialogue about the benefits of global trade. This year’s conference will provide an opportunity for that discussion, focusing on a broad range of topics relevant to the current national conversation about the global economy.”
Gov. McAuliffe will deliver the keynote address at the conference on March 6 at noon. The governor will discuss his administration’s efforts to increase Virginia’s agriculture and forestry exports and his work to make Virginia the East Coast capital for exports of these products, a goal he announced during his first State of the Commonwealth address. Virginia has moved from fifth to second place since 2010 when Virginia’s agricultural and forestry export growth initiative was launched. In 2015, the Commonwealth totaled almost $3.2 billion in agriculture and forestry exports.
Other conference speakers include: Honorable José Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa, Mexican Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food; Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón, Colombian Ambassador to U.S.; John Reinhart, Chief Executive Officer of POV; and Basil Gooden, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.
Panel discussions have been arranged to focus on important subjects affecting agriculture and forestry trade in Virginia and the United States, including:
- Importance of NAFTA for North American Agriculture: Past Benefits, Future Opportunities
- Agricultural Trade Patterns, Competition and Opportunities in the Pacific Region
This year’s conference also includes several presentations related to key trade topics including the importance of free trade agreements, current U.S. agriculture and trade priorities, effects of globalization on major U.S. firms, and opportunities and challenges for U.S. forest products exports. Individual speakers include representatives from The Russell Group, American Farm Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, John Deere, North American Meat Institute, Smithfield Foods and North American Timber Service. Representatives from VDACS’ global export promotion network will also attend.
Individuals, groups, and companies interested in participating in the conference may register online at ag-forestry.virginia.gov/agtrade2017 or call event coordinator, Christie Young, at 804-516-2396.
— Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services