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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: March 5, 2020
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Announces 12th Annual Conference on Agricultural Trade

Focus on trade environment, challenges and opportunities for agriculture and forestry, recent trade negotiations

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam will co-host the 12th Annual Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade on Tuesday, March 10 at the Richmond Marriott Hotel. The event is held annually in partnership with Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, and the Port of Virginia. The conference will focus on the current trade environment, challenges and opportunities for agricultural and forestry exports, recent trade negotiations. Speakers will also address the potential impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on global trade.

Representing the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Indonesian Agricultural Attaché Mr. Hari Edi Soekirno will discuss the current trade relationship between the two countries and opportunities for trade growth between Indonesia and the Commonwealth. Virginia exported more than $86 million of agriculture and forestry products to Indonesia last year.

“International trade is a critical component of Virginia’s economic success, especially for agriculture and forestry, which are the Commonwealth’s first and third largest private sector industries,” said Governor Northam. “The Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade continues to provide a forum for agriculture and forestry producers across the Commonwealth to hear from experts and find opportunities to successfully expand into global markets.”

Governor Northam will deliver the keynote address at the conference, highlighting the Commonwealth’s recently released International Trade Strategic Plan and discussing how exports of agriculture and forestry products play a key role in maintaining Virginia’s status as the number one state for business.

“Today’s agriculture and forestry economy is truly global, and Virginia’s producers rely on international trade to enter new and existing markets and create value,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “From the development of the Commonwealth’s first International Trade Strategic Plan to our participation in many trade missions to key markets around the world, our administration continues to work to promote Virginia products all over the globe.”

Other conference speakers will include Stephen Censky, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Dr. Robert Johannson, USDA Chief Economist, and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. 

Several panel discussions will focus on the importance of agriculture and forestry exports to the Commonwealth and topics will include:

  • Top commodity interests from the perspectives of the National Cotton Council, the American Peanut Council, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
  • View from economists featuring experts from John Deere, Smithfield, and the American Farm Bureau.
  • Forestry and forest products industry impacts with experts from the American Hardwood Export Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and Meherrin River Forest Products, a native Virginia lumber exporter.

This year’s conference also includes a post-conference seminar titled, “Exporting Basics and Beyond” on Wednesday, March 11 for producers and agribusinesses who are new to exporting.  Sessions will provide international marketing information and resources on export readiness, determining top markets, freight forwarding, pricing, and structuring and receiving payments. 

For more information about the conference or to register, please click here.

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