|MCLEAN, VA – Terry McAuliffe today released his sweeping new plan, “Growing Greener Pastures: Planting Innovation and Raising Opportunity on Virginia’s Working Lands,” to lift up Virginia’s agriculture and forestry as he rebuilds a stronger post-COVID economy in the Commonwealth. Alongside Terry’s plan for “Building a Flourishing Rural Economy,” this plan represents his unwavering commitment to creating a thriving agricultural economy that fuels economic opportunity and prosperity in every corner of Virginia.
As Virginia’s next governor, Terry will continue to grow the Commonwealth’s largest industries — agriculture and forestry — by expanding domestic and international markets for Virginia products and creating new opportunities for small businesses. His comprehensive plan will increase investments in the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development fund to help attract and expand agriculture and forestry businesses in the Commonwealth. In addition, Terry will build a highly-specialized agriculture workforce through partnerships with institutions of higher education and will cultivate next-generation smart farming through expanding broadband access to every Virginian. These goals will open up new markets for farmers and attract state-of-the-art meat and dairy processing facilities, establishing Virginia as a major supplier of specialty crops, particularly grains used in craft beverage production.
Supporting small businesses, especially small family farmers and foresters, is at the center of Terry’s new plan. One of Terry’s first acts as governor in 2014 was to sign a law creating more economic opportunities in agriculture and cutting red tape for small farms. He boosted consumer access to locally produced food, gave farmers access to new markets, ushered in cooperative sales partnerships between small farms, enabled more agritourism, and launched the Virginia Grown – Homegrown By Heroes program to support military veteran farmers. As governor, Terry will support small businesses in agriculture by creating new family farms, growing access to local foods, expanding the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and fully funding the Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost Share Program, which helps farmers transition toward more sustainable farming, before the end of his term.
“Agriculture and forestry are the backbone of Virginia’s thriving economy, but they need the Commonwealth’s support as we continue to rebuild a stronger post-COVID economy and move Virginia forward,” said Terry McAuliffe. “As governor, I will make sure Virginia leads the way in agricultural innovation by expanding training partnerships with community colleges and institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, creating new markets for Virginia-grown agricultural products, and expanding broadband access to every Virginian. It’s time to take Virginia agriculture and forestry to the next level, and together we will get it done.”
As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry made agriculture and forestry–Virginia’s top private sector industries–key components of his economic development plan. This focus on agriculture and forestry expanded the industry by 30% in the first half of Terry’s term and substantially grew exports of agricultural and forestry products to over $3 billion for the first time in Virginia’s history. Despite facing the effects of the Great Recession and sequestration, Terry created 200,000 good paying jobs, reduced unemployment from 5.7% to 3.3% — including reductions of nearly 50% in most rural counties, and raised personal income 14% during his administration.
Terry has released 17 detailed plans to strengthen Virginia’s education system and dramatically increase teacher pay, help secure Virginia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, reform our criminal justice system, ensure Virginians have access to regular nutritious meals, address the broken, predatory system of prescription drug pricing, confront the gun violence epidemic, make Virginia the best state in the nation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health Care (STEM-H) and computer science education, tackle the housing crisis in the Commonwealth and invest in Virginia’s workforce in the post-COVID economy, ensure Virginians have access to high-quality, affordable health care, tackle climate change and secure Virginia’s clean energy future by 2035, lift up Black Virginians as the Commonwealth rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic, further advance LGBTQ+ rights, create a flourishing rural economy, support entrepreneurial ecosystems and tackle rising costs and meet the health care needs and make higher education more affordable.