You've reached the Virginia Cooperative Extension Newsletter Archive. These files cover more than ten years of newsletters posted on our old website (through April/May 2009), and are provided for historical purposes only. As such, they may contain out-of-date references and broken links.

To see our latest newsletters and current information, visit our website at

Newsletter Archive index:

Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

The Economic Position Of Virginia Agriculture

Farm Business Management Update, June 2002

By Wayne Purcell

The overall purpose of the Rural Economic Analysis Program (REAP) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech is to conduct economic analysis and provide information to help guide long-range planning in Virginia's agricultural and rural economies. As the idea for an earlier "economic summit" grew and matured during the planning processes, REAP staff could see the possible benefits of a publication looking at the economic position of Virginia agriculture, and this is the third of such periodic efforts. It is important, however, that it be clear who is responsible for the work. Any factual errors are my responsibility since I have been the writer and overseer of the information collecting and presentation processes.

Moving beyond the factual data, I have, with some input from colleagues and reviewers, attempted to pinpoint important economic forces at work that will shape the agricultural sector in the year 2005 and beyond and identify important state-level issues that will be present for each commodity or each sub-sector. Obviously, the listings and the coverage are not exhaustive. Inferences are being drawn with regard to economic forces and policy issues, and not every reader will necessarily agree with my assessment. I accept that fact of life and I accept responsibility for the inferences that are drawn in the publication. The publication will, I believe, contribute to what is known and to the dialogue and discussions as we plan for the future and consider various policy prescriptions at the local, state, and national levels. It is offered with that purpose in mind. Feedback, input, and/or questions to the REAP program are always welcome.

The reader will note some data as recent as 2001. January 1, 2001 inventories of cattle, for example, are now available. Other data, especially cash receipt data, are sometimes 1999 at the latest. Final data on farm receipts for some commodities lag almost a year as the crops are sold throughout the year and data are accumulated. The mix you see here is, perhaps, the best mix we can offer to update the series and keep it complete.

The complete report can be found at the following site or contact Karen Mundy at (504) 231-9443 or by e-mail at

Contact the author at

Visit Virginia Cooperative Extension