DANVILLE, VA – Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Weyers Cave, was a speaker at The Governor’s Agricultural & Biotechnology Conference held September 9, 2015, at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia.
“I am here today to tell you that not only will Virginia be added to the list of strong players in the biosciences industry, but we should lead the United States in Ag Bio related to businesses, and that should be our goal,” said Landes.
Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, contributing $52 billion annually to the Commonwealth and providing more than 310,000 jobs. Similarly, agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia reached a record high of $3.3 billion in 2014, contributing to our global trade growth. Ag bio is a relatively small, but growing subsector of bioscience in Virginia that can be harnessed and poised for additional growth as part of the Governor’s overall Biotechnology Initiative, and in line with national trends and focus on agricultural feedstock and chemicals.
Public and private partners representing existing businesses in the Ag-Biotech sectors, research universities, and marketing and economic development professionals came together to help foster efforts for domestic and international business development.
“With all the many assets and resources we have in Virginia, we need to keep in mind that in addition to our institutions of higher learning, we have to realize our elementary and secondary school systems are going to play a vital role,” said Landes. “We need to encourage more young people to go into these fields and graduate with STEM degrees.”
Landes represents the 25th House District, which includes portions of Albemarle, Augusta and Rockingham Counties. He was first elected in 1995 and is currently serving his tenth term in the House.