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WHEREAS, agriculture is the Commonwealth’s largest private industry, contributing $70 billion annually to the state’s economy and employing more than 334,000 people; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth contains 43,225 farms spread across 7.79 million acres, with the average farm size being about 180 acres; and
WHEREAS, on average, a Virginia farmer feeds his or her own family plus 165 people around the world; and
WHEREAS, farmers are dedicated environmental stewards who conserve natural resources as they apply best management practices to protect their valuable land and water resources; and
WHEREAS, Virginia ranks among the top ten producing states in the nation for several commodities, including fourth for leaf tobacco, fifth for turkeys based on the number of heads, seventh for apples, eighth for grapes, eighth for peanuts, and tenth for broilers; and
WHEREAS, Virginia is home to a rich and diversified agricultural landscape that includes traditional farming and urban agriculture, value-added processing and innovative ag-technology, award-winning wineries and craft beverage production, agritourism operations, and many more; and
WHEREAS, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, Virginia’s agricultural community implemented measures to protect the health of consumers and their employees, maintain the food supply chain, and modify business models to continue operations and reach new audiences; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s agricultural producers are vital to the Commonwealth’s economic rebound from the widespread impacts of the pandemic and successful expansion into global markets; and
WHEREAS, farmers in Virginia and elsewhere are rising to the challenge in feeding a growing world population that is expected to reach nearly 10 billion people by the year 2050;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize June 13-19, 2021, as VIRGINIA AGRICULTURE WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.