The members of the VALOR fellowship already know and understand the importance agriculture plays in the Virginia economy. However, as we sat around the table with Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell, his Chief of Staff Martin Kent, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore and Deputy Secretary Travis Hill, it was refreshing to hear that they also recognize this importance. In Virginia, agriculture plays a vital role in the economic engine. The Governor and his staff understand by growing and promoting Virginia agriculture, the State will continue to improve the economically.
Mr. Kent, Mr. Haymore, and Mr. Hill all have a background in Agriculture and bring these experiences to their current leadership roles. The Governor, though not raised on a farm, encourages his administration to maintain an emphasis on the development and promotion of Virginia Agriculture. He has successfully promoted Virginia agriculture through is six trade missions. On these missions he has visited with several different countries from Germany to Sweden to China increasing trade relations for Virginia Agriculture. He believes that ““It is so critical, in today’s global economy, that we are telling the Virginia story not just to businesses across the United States, but also to companies around the world.’’ Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore accompanies the Governor on these trade missions and with their leadership bringing together private sector businesses and overseas governments, Virginia; over the past two years has had close to $200 million in new agriculture export deals.
Virginia agriculture is very thankful to have an administration that not only recognizes the importance it has to the Commonwealth, but goes above and beyond to promote our industry to the world.