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US: Governor Glenn Youngkin proclaims March as Virginia CEA month

Governor Glenn Youngkin recently proclaimed March as Virginia Controlled Environment Agriculture Month to highlight the Commonwealth as the destination of choice for many of the industry's operations. Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) embraces innovations in technology by utilizing a variety of growing methods, including hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, and fogponics for indoor growing, vertical farming, greenhouse, and protected cropping environments. State officials will recognize CEA month by visiting operations around the Commonwealth to view the various technologies and types of crops that are helping the industry thrive.

"Virginia is positioned as a top destination for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) with its location, support for advanced training in cutting-edge agricultural technology training, specific CEA tax exemptions, and targeted investments. During Controlled Environment Agriculture month, I'm inspired by the CEA industry's continued progress in the Commonwealth and its beneficial impacts on the global community and residents of the Commonwealth," said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

CEA controls certain aspects of the growing environment to boost yields, promote sustainability, and reduce pests and disease pressure while increasing efficiencies and providing for the year-round growth of crops. By controlling the environment, crops can be grown closer to markets and transportation hubs.

"Virginia's leadership in policy and recruitment related to CEA is proving to be a catalyst for capital investment and increasing number of CEAs located in the Commonwealth. The Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development fund has awarded more than $1.7 million to incentivize CEA projects that have generated approximately $475 million in capital investments and created nearly 900 new jobs across Virginia," said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. "In addition, Governor Youngkin signed legislation in 2023 that expanded the agricultural sales tax exemption to include items used to produce agricultural products for market in a CEA commercial facility."

As Virginia is home to some of the largest indoor farming facilities in the United States, local retailers are less dependent on transporting leafy greens and other produce items from other parts of the country. In addition, the Commonwealth is ideally located within a day's drive to nearly half of the U.S. population, allowing Virginia based CEA's to not only feed Virginia but also efficiently feed the region and beyond," said Joseph Guthrie, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "Virginia also has a skilled talent pool that is attractive for CEA operations. Led by Virginia State and Virginia Tech, numerous elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools have developed curriculums, outreach activities, and research centers around CEA to educate students on industry innovations."


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