RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia agriculture will be celebrated during National Ag Week, March 19-25. National Ag Day is March 21.
The national observance encourages Americans to understand how food and fiber are produced; appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products; and to value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
In Virginia, some county Farm Bureaus will mark the occasion by donating nonperishable food items and other supplies and making monetary donations to regional food banks, local food pantries and Ronald McDonald House charities.
“We’re proud of agriculture and try to foster awareness of agriculture in our communities as a way to commemorate National Ag Week,” said Wayne F. Pryor, president of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and a Goochland County beef and grain producer. “We want everyone to understand the role farmers play in providing safe food and other products. This is our life’s work, and we take it seriously.”
This year, many Farm Bureau volunteers also will celebrate National Ag Week by visiting schools in their communities and completing agricultural activities with students. Volunteers in Virginia also will visit local schools March 6-10 to mark Agriculture Literacy Week.
“We wanted to provide activities for volunteers to do for Ag Week and get them in the classroom multiple times in March to keep agriculture at the forefront of students’ minds,” explained Tammy Maxey, senior education manager for Virginia’s Agriculture in the Classroom program, which organizes Agriculture Literacy Week.
Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry by far, with an economic impact of $52 billion annually, and it supports nearly 311,000 jobs in the state. Agriculture and forestry combined have a total economic impact of $70 billion and provide nearly 415,000 jobs in the commonwealth.
Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.6 jobs elsewhere in Virginia. According to a 2013 economic impact study, production agriculture employs nearly 55,000 farmers and workers in Virginia and generates approximately $3.3 billion in total output.
— Virginia Farm Bureau Federation