Virginia and the global marketplace will be the focus of this year’s discussion at the 2013 Governor’s Conference on Agriculture Trade held March 7 and 8 at the Omni Hotel in Richmond, Va. 

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will deliver the opening keynote address on continuing the growth of Virginia’s exports and economy. Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger and the Right Honorable Mike Moore, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States, will also speak.

At last year’s workshop, McDonnell announced a record number of Virginia agricultural exports in 2011.

“Recognizing the continued support of exports to the health of Virginia’s agriculture industry and economy, the administration — including the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services — has continued to work diligently in 2012 with educators, exporters, and our international customers to ensure that current markets continue to grow, restrictions on other markets are lifted, and exports remain a star contributor to Virginia’s economy and employment,” said Ambassador Richard Crowder, professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

In addition to McDonnell, Steger, and Moore, speakers will include

  • Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, U.S Chief Agriculture Negotiator;
  • Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore; and
  • Former Undersecretary of Agriculture J.B. Penn, now chief economist at Deere and Company.

Along with policy analysis and discussion, the agenda will feature presentations by individuals and companies involved with exporting their products to international destinations. As an added bonus to this year’s program, VDACS international trade representatives will be available for one-on-one discussions with anyone who wants to learn more about a particular country or market opportunity.

The program will also include the popular embassy panel, including representatives from Russia and Chile.  As time permits, attendees will have an opportunity to network with these potential customers.

“The planning committee has worked hard to develop a program that should be of interest to a wide audience,” said Gordon Groover, Virginia Cooperative Extension economist.  “Not just for those in Virginia, but anyone involved in any one of the numerous steps needed to move raw commodities from the farm to the port and to their ultimate destination.”

The conference is organized by the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, and the Virginia Port Authority.

Registration information can be found on the Virginia Farm Bureau website. For more information, contact Spencer Neale at 804-290-1153 or Brenda Fleming at 804-290-1155.



Written by Allison Hedrick of Chatham, Va., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Share this story