Agriculture and forestry have $91 billion economic impact in Virginia
This represents a 30 percent increase from the most recent study, released in 2013, which showed an annual economic impact of $70 billion.
The total employment impact of these industries also increased by approximately seven percent, from 414,700 to 442,200 jobs, representing approximately nine percent of total employment in the Commonwealth.
The study was led by Dr. Terry Rephann of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.
It found that agriculture accounts for $70 billion of the $91 billion total, and forestry contributes $21 billion.
Other related activities such as recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, ecosystems services, agritourism, wine tourism, equestrian events, and agricultural festivals were not included in this study, but would add significantly to the total economic impact figure.
For example, a Virginia Tech study released in April found that agritourism alone contributes $2.2 billion annually to the state’s economy and a study released in January 2017 noted that the wine industry contributes $1.37 billion each year. ■