Planting Innovation and Raising Opportunity on Virginia’s Working Lands
As Virginia’s next Governor, Terry will take a comprehensive approach to strengthening the agricultural and forestry economy by growing demand for Virginia agricultural products, facilitating innovation to expand supply, and supporting Virginia farmers and foresters. His plan will build a highly-specialized agriculture and forestry workforce through partnerships with institutions of higher education and community colleges, cultivate next-generation smart farming by expanding broadband access to every Virginian, and expand state matching funds for agricultural best management practices that support the transition to sustainability. Terry will establish Virginia agriculture and forestry as a model for upward mobility and growth by focusing on investing in the farmers and workers who are critical to Virginia’s economic future.
As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry made agriculture and forestry key components of his economic development plan, expanding Virginia’s largest private industries by 30% in the first half of his term. One of Terry’s first acts as governor was to sign a law creating more economic opportunities in agriculture and cutting red tape for small farms. He boosted consumer access to locally produced food, gave farmers access to new markets, ushered in cooperative sales partnerships between small farms, enabled more agritourism, and launched the Virginia Grown – Homegrown By Heroes program to support military veteran farmers. Terry substantially grew exports of agricultural and forestry products to over $3 billion for the first time in Virginia’s history, making the Commonwealth the second-largest agricultural exporter on the East Coast and cutting unemployment in every city and county, including by nearly 50% in most rural counties.
The Work Ahead
- Guaranteeing universal broadband by 2024, which will promote new technologies that improve efficiency, increase production, and increase profits
- Growing domestic markets and international trade opportunities for Virginia products and establishing Virginia as a major supplier of specialty crops, particularly specialty grains used in craft beverage production
- Increasing investments for the AFID fund that helps to attract and expand agriculture and forestry businesses in the Commonwealth
- Building a highly specialized agriculture and forestry workforce through partnerships with institutions of higher education and community colleges
- Opening up new markets for farmers by attracting state-of-the-art meat and dairy processing facilities, along with new sawmills and a cross laminated timber manufacturer
- Securing full funding for the Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) Cost-Share Program to ensure the Commonwealth meets our goals for conservation and the environment while supporting our farmers