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Virginia Economy


Tobacco, once the basis of the Virginia economy, has been replaced by livestock and livestock products as the state's most valuable source of agricultural income. Livestock products now generate more than 2/3 of the state's total agricultural receipts.

In terms of revenue generated Virginia's top five agricultural products are broilers (young chickens), beef cattle and calves, dairy products, greenhouse and nursery products, and turkeys.


Broilers (5-12 week-old chickens) are the state's most valuable product followed by beef cattle.

Other important livestock products include milk, turkeys, and horses/mules. Virginia is one of the country's leading (#6 among the states) producers of turkeys.

Chicken eggs, hogs, aquaculture, and sheep and lambs are also part of the livestock products category.


In this category, greenhouse and nursery products lead the way, generating 9% of Virginia's total agricultural receipts.

Soybeans edge out tobacco for the number two position, providing about 5% of the state's total agricultural receipts. Tobacco generates around 4% of total receipts. Other field crops grown in Virginia are hay, cotton, wheat, peanuts, and barley.

Tomatoes and corn for grain are other major crops grown in Virginia.

Other important vegetable crops grown in the state are potatoes, snap beans, cucumbers, and sweet corn.

Leading fruits grown in Virginia include apples and grapes.

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Manufacturers add value to raw products by creating manufactured items. For example, cotton cloth becomes more valuable than a boll of cotton through manufacturing processes.

Tobacco products are Virginia's most valuable processed products produced in the manufacturing sector followed by beverages (soft drinks, beer).

Ranked as Virginia's second most valuable group of manufactured goods are chemicals (pharmaceuticals, synthetic fibers).

Production of transportation equipment (boats and ships, motor vehicle parts, trucks) ranks third in the state.


Coal is the state's leading mined product.

Other products are crushed stone, sand and gravel, lime, kyanite and clay.


Virginia is a leading crab and oyster producing state.

Other important catches are Atlantic croaker, summer flounder, striped bass, menhaden and spot.


The community, business and personal services group is the most valuable services industry in Virginia producing income through private health care, hotels and motels, computer programming and engineering companies and repair shops. The growth sector is in technology with business for computer programmers, consultants, engineers and researchers generated by the federal government. The world's largest Internet service provider is based in Virginia.

Ranking second are the government and finance, insurance and real estate service groups

Government services include operation of public schools, hospitals and military bases. The Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA and military bases are all located in Virginia.

Rapid population growth has fueled the real estate market in the state with the construction of new homes, shopping centers and other properties. Falls Church and Richmond are the most important financial centers in Virginia.

Ranking third in the services sector is the wholesale trade (coal, farm products, groceries) and retail trade (automobile dealerships, department stores, food stores, telemarketing, mail order) services group.

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