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Virginia State University College of Agriculture Will Host The First Spring Ag Fest On Campus!

Virginia agriculture and forestry industries have an economic impact of $105 billion, provide 490,000 jobs and offer tremendous opportunities for minority students.

Brilliant Black College Students
Virginia State University Agriculture Students

WHAT: Celebratory events sharing impactful information to transform perspectives and open opportunities for 300+ attendees.

“Ag Fest Block Party” campus-wide activities for students, faculty and staff. (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.)

  • Speaker: Dr. Dionne Toombs, acting director, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

  • Culture House College Tour: sponsors 300 free meals and snacks to students from black-owned vendors: Everything Legendary (plant-based burgers), Rap Snacks chips and Partake (allergen-free cookies).

  • College of Agriculture showcases current research, projects, community partnerships, scholarships, and more!

  • Food, music, and activities for all.

Minorities in Agriculture Panel Discussion moderated by Dr. Janine Woods. (3:15-3:55 p.m.)

  • Topics: The challenges, opportunities, and entry pipeline for minorities in the agriculture industry.

  • Networking event enables students to meet professionals, VSU agriculture alumni and peers.

WHO: Nationally recognized agricultural experts and industry professionals.

Ag Fest "Block Party":

  • Owners of the vegan food line, Everything Legendary. The company was featured on Shark Tank twice and made a deal with billionaire Mark Cuban. Now, this brand is featured in Target stores and more.

  • USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Acting Director Dr. Dionne Toombs

  • Community and industry partners

  • Government affiliates

Minorities in Agriculture Panelists are as follows:

  • Former USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Jewel Bronaugh

  • USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Acting Director Dr. Dionne Toombs

  • USDA Farm Service Agency in Virginia Executive Director Dr. Ronald Howell

  • VSU Political Science Department Chair and former Vice-Mayor of Charlottesville, Dr. Wes Bellamy

WHY: To highlight the importance of agriculture, dispel misconceptions and inform students of industry opportunities.

Agriculture is a vital industry with tremendous impact:

  • Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry.

  • Its economic impact is over $100 billion.

  • It provides nearly a half-million jobs.

  • Together, agriculture, forestry and value-added industries account for over 9% of the commonwealth’s gross domestic product.

  • Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.6 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy.

  • Agriculture, food, and related industries contributed over $1.26 trillion to U.S. gross domestic product in 2021, a 5.4% share.

There are more agriculture sectors than people realize:

  • Food and beverage manufacturing.

  • Food and beverage stores.

  • Food services and eating/drinking establishments.

  • Textiles, apparel and leather products.

  • Forestry and fishing.

  • Farming and food.

The impact and opportunities in agriculture are greater than people realize:

  • In 2021, 21.1 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.5% of total U.S. employment. (USDA)

WHEN AND WHERE: Wednesday, March 22 at Virginia State University, Ettrick, VA 23806

11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Foster Hall & University Avenues

3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. L. Douglas Wilder Building Auditorium, 1 Hayden Drive

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