Virginia agricultural exports set an all-time record in 2012 with a value of $2.61 billion says Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. That shatters the previous record set in the state last year by almost 12%.
The governor's announcement of the export records came during his keynote remarks, March 7, during the fifth Governor's Conference on Agricultural Trade in Richmond.
Virginia exports have been on a tear of late. In 2011 the Commonwealth exported $2.35 billion in products, a record-setting pace, that represented a 6% increase from 2010. Agricultural exports, including forestry products, have grown in value by approximately 17% since 2010. That growth is even more remarkable since it has come despite a continued slow economic recovery worldwide.
"The decision in 2010 to fully integrate agriculture and forestry, Virginia's two largest industries, into my administration's economic development and jobs creation strategic planning continues to yield solid results for Virginia's overall economy and expand our global presence," said McDonnell during the Governor's Conference. "Agricultural exports, which generate approximately $1.40 in-state for every $1.00 shipped out, have reached all-time highs in two of the past three years, producing more revenue for our producers and everyone along the business chain from farms to our ports, and creating more good jobs all across Virginia. With the trade offices we've established in key global regions and new ones we'll open this year, as well as the trade missions I will conduct later this year, I expect to see Virginia agricultural exports continue to grow, and good jobs continue to be created here at home. Our recently passed transportation bill will also help ensure that Virginia continues to have the modern and well-funded road and rail network necessary to get our goods from producers in the Commonwealth to tables all across the world in the decades ahead."
Agriculture and forestry have a combined economic impact of $79 billion annually, according to the governor's office. These industries provide 500,000 jobs in the state.