The 2022 Virginia Agriculture and Natural Resources Summit: Farm, Forestry, Food, and Fiber of the Future is scheduled for April 12-13 at the Richmond Marriott in Short Pump, Virginia.

Now in its second year, this year’s event is themed “Expanding the economy and security of Virginia’s agriculture, natural resources, and food systems.”

The summit is hosted by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, College of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

Leaders of the commonwealth’s agriculture, forestry, and natural resources sectors are encouraged to attend this forward-focused conference, featuring interactive sessions, networking events, and small breakouts.

Registration details and additional information on the 2022 summit may be found here.

During the two-day gathering, participants will help identify opportunities for dynamic engagement in private-public partnerships to ensure that Virginia’s largest industries - agriculture and forestry, in combination with natural resources industries - continue to prosper. They will also gain perspective from Virginia Tech’s expertise and potential for enhancing partnerships between the university and private agricultural, forest, and natural resources industries, producers and commodity group.

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Summit is part of a long-term strategy to spur economic growth and solidify Virginia’s role as a leader in the innovations that will propel the agriculture and natural resources industries for decades.

First held in 2018, the inaugural conference attracted more than 100 industries, commodity groups, state agencies, and Virginia Tech leaders to discuss and identify resources that create jobs, increase value for stakeholders, and enhance workforce.

What resulted was the creation of the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture. The center’s work and research, under the direction of Susan Duncan, the associate director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, operates in the intersection of technology, data analytics, and decisions to address challenges and security in the natural world and in human society in the domains of plants, animals, and food systems.

Faculty members from across Virginia Tech , with experience ranging from precision agriculture and cyberbiosecurity to genomic design and machine learning, are part of the center. Some of the existing expertise and platforms the center utilizes include the SmartFarm Innovation Network®; cyberbiosecurity and biosecurity in agriculture and life sciences; and data analytics, decisions, and machine learning for food, agriculture, communities, and health systems.

The SmartFarm Innovation Network is the central platform of the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture, creating the agricultural and communities research and communications network throughout Virginia. Priorities of the network include rapid response to emerging and time-critical incidents for guiding industry and community decisions, and providing technological solutions and security measures to current and future challenges that limit production efficiencies, economic return, or capacity to adopt environmental or sustainable practices.

Organizers of the event have set aside a block of rooms for conference attendees at the Richmond Marriot Short Pump. Reservations must be made no later than March 15.

- By Mary Hardbarger






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