This Week In Richmond: Hon. Basil I. Gooden
This. Week in Richmond, is made possible in, part by the. Virginia. Education Association. An. Investment. In teachers today will, pay dividends, tomorrow. Dignity. Memorial the. Dignity, network provides, professional. And compassionate funeral. Memorial. Cremation. And cemetery, services, throughout, the Commonwealth, of Virginia Virginia. Hospital. And Health Care Association for. Jobs the, economy and, public health. Committed. To advancing health, and economic, opportunity. For all Virginians, Virginia. Tourism corporation, promoting. Why Virginia, is for lovers lovers. Of wine and craft beers, the outdoors, beaches, history, music and more fall, in love with Virginia, at Virginia, org. Additional. Support provided by, these sponsors. And by. The members, of Virginia's. Public television, stations. Thank, you. Welcome. To this week in Richmond a very special welcome to the Secretary of. Agriculture. And Forestry in, the Commonwealth of Virginia, dr., basil, Gooden, and thank. You so much for coming on and talking. With our viewers about Agriculture. And Forestry it's, something. That's been a passion, of your, life yes, from. Your days. In Buckingham, County, yes years there and and, so we're really. Interested in having you give. Us some update, on, what's happening in, agriculture. Here in the Commonwealth, well thank you so much and thank you so much for having me here and, talking about Agriculture and Forestry here, as we, approach the holiday season, yes yes as, you indicated it's, more Therese and Buckingham, County Virginia grew up on a farm, there actually. When I was growing, up we raised cattle, hogs. And. And. Row crops as well a, lot, of exciting things going on in agriculture, certainly. Around. The holiday season with the Christmas, trees that, we actually produced. Here in the Commonwealth of Virginia out, in Southwest. Virginia in, Southside. Virginia Grayson. County Floyd. County, great, producers, of, Christmas, trees and so certainly. Want to encourage everyone to buy a real Christmas tree that's right and and. You get them early too because they it's, actually, it's a glitch. That. They. May. Not have as many Christmas trees as, we have had, in the past you know I really, wanted to ask you about that because, there. Was a major, article, in the Richmond times-dispatch I, think front page, talking, about that and and. Did. It have something to do with it the, economy, back at, almost 10 years ago that's exactly, right that's exactly right and doing. The recession, there. Was a downturn and, it takes about ten years certainly, to grow a Christmas, tree a real nice Christmas. Tree and so, because, of the glitch, and. The downturn. In the economy, back. In, 2007. 2008. Then. You know that's. Resulted. In what we see today and, actually I'll probably be just. As a. Similar. Situation, next year as well but then we will turn the corner and have. A. Good. Crop of Christmas trees and but, I do encourage people to get out very early and get their Christmas tree as soon as possible, well before even before we did this show today I want, you to know that we we got ours it's, been a family tradition for, us so now our two. Daughters and their families to go out to a Christmas tree farm and get, it cut I'll get that done now we will tell our viewers which we're having a conversation on, December, 4th know they're, seeing this show now just the week before, Christmas but. Ivan with them to know that I got it much earlier oh yes. It's. Just it's a real experience to, do that as well as just having a fresh tree sure so absolutely, and and, there's so many things going on in agriculture. One. Thing that I'd like to update you on is that there. Was a report that was released talking, about the economic impact, of back. In July the governor, released that report and. Showing, that Agriculture and Forestry, 91. Billion, dollar, economic, impact, on, the economy, in Virginia. Annually. And, that. Is a tremendous. Agriculture. Is about seventy, billion dollars of that certainly. The largest private. Industry. Here in the Commonwealth, of Virginia and forage. The third-largest 21. Billion dollar economic. Impact, so. That's a tremendous impact that, agriculture, and forestry is having and the thing that I really appreciate too it's making an impact in our rural areas. Of the Commonwealth of Virginia as you know certainly. The loss of jobs loss, of manufacturing jobs. Loss. Of coal, jobs as well so, certainly we, have agriculture. That's, actually, picking up some of that slack in these rural, areas in the Commonwealth of Virginia I think that that's extremely important, those of us who live in a metropolitan area, like Richmond, you can see where there's the. The, suburbs keep moving, out and. In. Farmland. Sometimes, gets. Sold. Or and.
For. Development. And. Probably. If we had a snapshot of, this. Year compared, to even 50 years ago there's a lot less land that's being farmed, that's exactly, right exactly right actually. Based. On the agricultural, census. There. Are fewer farms, but actually the farms are getting larger, here. In the Commonwealth, of Virginia. It's, a, economic. Move, that. In. Agriculture. Today either, hath will really grow and, go, large or. You have to find niche, markets, where you can actually. Have. A crop, or commodity, that, will, address, what. People in, either. Metropolitan, areas or around the world things. That they're looking for so in agriculture, you you're either getting the larger farm doing. More harvesting, or, you're, getting smaller and more, entrepreneurial, that's, what I really appreciate about agriculture. In the Commonwealth, of Virginia learning, about the entrepreneur. Spirit here, in the Commonwealth, of Virginia the. Diversity, in our commodities. Diversity. Among our farmers, and, the innovation, and that's something I like to talk a little bit about as. We as we talk about, some, of the creativity, innovation, that I see in agriculture, in. Addition, to the mainline agriculture. Commodities. That we produce here in the Commonwealth, so on, the niche on the niche part I guess the folks that we see at the farmers markets, yes sir and in cities, and in towns around the Commonwealth or probably some of the people that have found. A niche or something they know that that we're, interested in and, got, some of those farmers markets continue. Your almost year-round oh yes sir yes sir absolutely there, have been a plethora, of farmers, markets and actually they're really booming that's, a part also. Agritourism. Actually. Given individuals. And experience. Coming out to the farms, as well sort. Of the pick your own or cut your own tree, as. Well but, farmers, markets, have really, been a tremendous boon, to our ranchers. And farmers here in the Commonwealth, of Virginia direct. To consumers, waited you can get your produce, directly. To consume, whether, it's a CSA. Or a. Way. To really, work with some of the local food, supermarkets. Really. The way people will interact with their food going, forward, people, I mean one thing I like to say people have become a very forensic. About their food they want to know more about their, food they want to know what. Went into the. Production of their food, and. Certainly, the Millennials, are driving, the, change in the way we produce some of our food so we, certainly have to be in tune to the market the changing. Demographics. But, also what you'll see to David, is that Amazon. Is, getting into the the food space with their purchase of Whole Foods as. You know certainly. Walmart. The, largest really retailer, actually. Really. Getting into the, AG. Space, as well so. The, way people will interact with their food and actually. Consume their food and will. Change and that's, what we talk about in, agriculture. A lot here, in the Commonwealth of Virginia being, ready for the change that will come down, the road and making, sure that our farmers, and ranchers are prepared to, take.
Advantage Of the markets and the opportunities, as. We. Change the way that people interact with their food think about interacting, and. You. Should tell our viewers a story that you mentioned just before we started, the show about. Being, as a group of second graders oh yes sir yes sir sometimes. There's, there are children, who, don't know Farms right that's exactly right yeah so I shared earlier, that. We. Were reading as, a part of the AG in the classroom real, reading sleep, type form to, second, graders and it, was a great, great event and when. We and. I like to interact with the students and ask, the students is out as I was reading to them I said you know have you been to a farm and they say oh yes we've been to a farm we've been to a farm and I asked the question is what type of animals, did you see on the farm and they, said well we saw our zebra, we saw a giraffe, and things of that nature then, we realize well no that's not it quite right a farm that's a zoo and so there's, a lot of Education that we need to do for people, who. Are not familiar with where their food comes from and and. As, you know fewer and fewer and. Fewer people are actually living on farms, and. The, likelihood of you really. Going into, agricultural. Farming if you, didn't grow up on a farm it's very, very very small and so certainly, as you know farmers, are getting older and and. We really, need to get. A lot of the younger people involved. More involved, into our AG, production and, that's something we're focusing, on in our Secretary as well so, certainly, looking at how we can educate more. People whether. They're on the farm or off the farm about our food but. Also encouraging. People to to. Take up farming, I mean there's a lot of professions. In farming it's not all, on, the farm as well agriculture. Is very very, broad. Industry, you, have distribution. You have marketing. Of it you you have a lot of that, goes into agriculture. Beyond just. Growing the crops or. Reason. The livestock, so, there's a there are a lot of opportunities, in agriculture. And that's what we like to share with the young people you. Know a lot of people like to be independent entrepreneurs, that's, the best place to do that in agriculture, I mean you have to know a little, bit about everything, I mean you have to know a little bit about chemistry you have to know about money management you, know you have to know about running. A business and. So that's what we like to share with all the, young people you can, direct. Your own path and be an entrepreneur in agriculture. And we'd like to give you that opportunity you. Mentioned the word innovation just. A little bit ago and, what. What do you see what's the future of agriculture, in the Commonwealth and innovations. What innovations, do you see taking place sure, sure and that's that's, really where. We get excited and really talk about the future of farming it's going to be around innovation it's going to be around creativity, and again as I indicated we have a lot, of creative. Producers. And farmers here, but, when I talk about innovation, I talk about not. Only the technology. Around, agriculture, and certainly, precision. Agriculture has been around for a while again. Is really helping increase, the, efficiency. And the yield, per. Acre here. In the Commonwealth, of Virginia but. We're also talking about -, technology, in plants. And also, the nexus. Between. Agriculture. And health.
There's. A lot of overlap. Between plant. Health and and and human. Health and. Again looking, at some, when. We talk about innovation, not. Only again. Like drones drones drones, are a tremendous. Asset, drones. Jumping, yes absolutely. And but, also with the crops are grown whether, it's indoor. Greenhouses. That's. Technology. Around greenhouses, to, allow farms. To to produce. Produce. Year. Round and then. Also just again what. We can. Talk. About as, far, as. Autonomous. Vehicles. That's, another thing I saw a demonstration where. Actually. There was an autonomous. Haybailer. Actually, where the. It, was a driverless, tractor that would actually cut your cut. Your hay but, then it'll come back and Bale it as well and, so. That. Type. Of innovation will, change, the work force of agriculture, and, and. Actually, make it more, efficient, but again we, have to be ready, for these type of changes, whether, it's the innovation. And hardware, innovation. And, the. Way we. Grow, plants. But, also, looking. At how we can. Connect. A lot more, of these rural areas, and. Again I like to call it connected, countryside. Because again. We're gonna have to rely on. Broadband. We're gonna have to rely on technology. To. Actually, get, our produce. And, and and to increase our yield. But get our produce to the the markets that are most beneficial for, our. Farmers. And ranchers, so, there's. A lot that we could unpack. We talk about innovation. And, and, actually we. Will have a smart. Farm summit, actually at James Madison University. Later. In December, and so. That's. Going to be an opportunity, where we look, at some of the latest. Innovations. Around, either. Again. How, we raise. Our crop but, actually looking at some of the the. Things that we can do with our crop but also like. To talk, about TV the thing is the type of crops. That we grow. Certainly. There's been a push into raising. Industrial. Hemp that is something that it is very, very long. That is moving along very very popular. Among, a lot of our farmers, and so, we're working with VDX. To, make. It even, easier for, farmers. And ranchers to grow industrial, hemp in, the next coming, year or so so, just. Looking at again, growing. Crops. That we traditionally, have, not grown here Commonwealth, of Virginia whether, it's you know. Ginger. Or, ginseng. Or you know just different, type of crops. That may, yield a larger, input income, for, for a lot of our farmers as well there's, some of that then related also to the, impact, of international trade, in, farming. So you're not they're, not just raising for. Domestic. Use or, even for the within. The Commonwealth it's it's products, that really are. Sold. Internationally absolutely. Yes sir yes sir and and that's where our largest, market I mean again 90. Percent of our consumers, are outside of the United ninety percent and so we really, have to go, to where, those. Markets, are certainly. With this the. Governor and. Then and also the incumbent administration is. Really wanted to focus on international, trade as well so. Certainly, our. Largest. Commodity. That we export. Certainly. Soybeans, here, in the Commonwealth, of Virginia, primarily. To the Asian markets, China. Consumes. About six. Hundred and ninety. Four million. Dollars annually, in soybeans, that, we we send there, so. Certainly. Looking at how, other. Cultures, around the world focus. On some, of these foods again, whether this ginger, ginseng. And. How, that plays into their, health and their culture, and so, certainly that's a market that we really try to focus. On for. Our producers we. Were in, Cuba. Earlier. This. This fall and that's. Another market, that we're looking at some, some various, commodities to, get there as well certainly. We we send poultry, to Cuba and then also soar beans as well but, they're interested, in other commodities, and so looking. At how we can connect. Our farmers, to these markets. Around the world and. I mean that's the future of Agriculture, you know you mentioned, being in Cuba, it reminds, me and perhaps also our viewers that when when. The governor and, and. Others will go with him international. Trade missions, it's. Not, simply trying to get some corporation.
To Come back here. It, that as often has to do with our trading with them and. Significant. Part of what we have to trade is agriculture. And forestry products, absolutely. And in, Cuba, we're, only allowed, to treat, either. Agriculture. Related or medical. Related. Services. Limited. So it's limited, certainly, with Cuba, so. We. Really, try, to take a full advantage of the. Agricultural, piece, again. We, feel that it's a great market for us so close to the United States but. Also we go, around the world to really focus on. Taking. Our commodities, and and what I focus on is the high quality commodities. That we have here to Commonwealth and what I do tell you know people when I do travel around the world I. Do, say you know Virginia will probably never be the largest, agricultural. State. In in the United States we can't, produce, more corn. Than our. Or, more cattle, than say Texas, but, we do have the most innovative the most creative, and the most entrepreneurial, farmers. I, feel anywhere. Want to plant it right here in the Commonwealth, of Virginia and that's what I like to focus on I like to focus on how, we really. Get it right as far as our production how, we're very, efficient, how we're good stewards of, the. Environment how. We really protect the waterways and really. Understand. That we have. To. Be. Good stewards, going. Forward, and so. That's. What I really focus on our farming, practices, but. At the higher quality product that we NATO's. You know broccoli, or, whatever the case may be peanuts, certainly that's our. Peanuts, are known around the world we, were in Europe earlier and and, they, were really really like. Our Virginia. Peanuts that's great that's great well I think, I understand the governor often takes, someone with him - oh yes sir yes sir yeah yeah, sure they know that it's not just California, in New York yeah absolutely absolutely. We, have more than 300 wineries, here in the Commonwealth, of Virginia I mean the distilleries, the craft beverage, injuries industry, is tremendous, and that's something that we support again, we really, look at the entrepreneurs. Whether. It's soldering. Even. Me Teresa you, know the. Honey and so. We. Really, promote, our wine, industry around, the world and and then try to get our wines and, our craft beverages, in other other, states as well so, certainly. That's been a key focus of this administration and, I'm sure will continue to be a focus, of the incoming administration as, well what. Can you tell us something about the leadership, in agriculture. What's what's happening in that that, arena here, in the Commonwealth, sure yes, one, thing that we like to focus on is diversity, in leadership certainly. Making sure that it's reflective. Of. The. Populations. That have been very very important, to agriculture and the Commonwealth, really focusing on women. Leaders. Minority. Leaders in, agriculture, certainly. In our, Secretariat. We have two. Female. My. Chief. Deputy, is, a farmer, and she. Is. I guess. A, beef, cattle farmer and raises, grapes as well, my assistant. Secretary, is also female. She. And her family have a farm out in. Amelia. County she grew up in Loudoun County on a dairy farm, I think. It's vitally important when we talk about leadership to make sure that we include all, voices. Recognizing. That minorities, and women have, been vitally. Important. To agriculture, since, the inception of. Virginia. And the country and so want, to make sure that we have all voices. At the table, certainly, we work with the Virginia, Hispanic, Chamber of Commerce when. We talk about agricultural. Opportunities the. Asian. Chamber. Of Commerce, because. Again. We. Want, to make sure that we're very inclusive and, make. Sure that being. That agriculture. Is such a large economic, driver, that, everyone. Has a say, voice, at the table and so, certainly. We, feel that leadership is vitally important and also, when I talk about leadership we talk about developing, the young leaders working with 4-h, or working with FFA.
Of In the school systems, to really. Cultivate the younger leaders as well, because. Again. Any. Industry, is only as, strong as its leaders, and so we, feel that we have an obligation to. Cultivate. The. Younger people and what I'd like to tell the young people is that you, know I'm just keeping, the seat warm as, a Secretariat for these young people to come come behind to to. Take our industry. To another level so leadership, is vitally, important, and I really do appreciate that question well, I would think to you when you mentioned the young people that in the Career, and Technical Education area. That that. Hopefully. It's not just in the rural parts, of the Commonwealth that, they're learning about agriculture. And and, the opportunities. There I, think, when we had a conversation some, time ago I mentioned that Appomattox. High school my, early years FFA. Rank the jacket has shrunk over years, we. Moved to, work. High, school yes. No, no, FFA, right there so I imagine FFA, may still be, somewhat. Limited to rural. Areas but hopefully in the Career and Technical ed part, right, there they're learning about the opportunities. In farming sure that's a great, great question great, observation. We are working with agriculture. Whether it's urban agriculture. Whether it's rooftop. Farm in a greenhouse. For the interest so, we are really, trying. To cultivate, leaders. In agriculture. From. The inner city to the far far rural areas, and certainly, the. Schools may not have a FFA, chapter, in some of these but. And. We. Also work with 4-h, and sometimes for, each we'll certainly be in some schools that FFA, will not be in so, you're. Absolutely right we are we're trying to work with all, types of communities. Metropolitan. Urban rule. To, really, cultivate, and, let people know more about agriculture. And again, those opportunities, there, and the. Opportunities, for leadership in agriculture. So vitally. Important, and love, getting out working with the younger people one. Thing that we we try to focus, on we we, have this little program we had to really, flush it out but, we. Have a secretary. For a day where we have young people come and sort of. Follow. Us and Shadow and learn, more about what we do as the Secretary of Agriculture, and help us make decisions so I'm getting the signal than our times up but so thank, you so much for being on this week in Richmond and we. Hope more people shadow, you I hope more involved, in, agriculture. And forestry well thank you thank you for this opportunity really. Appreciated. Okay. This. Week in Richmond, is made possible in, part by the. Virginia, Education Association. An. Investment. In teachers today will, pay dividends, tomorrow. Dignity. Memorial the. Dignity, network provides, professional and, compassionate funeral. Memorial, cremation. And cemetery, services, throughout, the Commonwealth, of Virginia Virginia. Hospital. And Health Care Association for, jobs the, economy and, public health. Virginia tourism. Corporation, promoting. Why Virginia, is for lovers, lovers. Of wine and craft beers, the outdoors, beaches, history, music and more fall, in love with Virginia, at Virginia, org. Additional. Support provided by, these sponsors. And by. The members, of Virginia's. Public television stations. Thank, you. You.