For decades, Virginia's industries were driven by its robust tobacco crops. Yet, as the years pass, the Old Dominion State's economy has evolved, offering now a diverse melding of various industries.
The state has one of the most successful economies in the country. These industries in Virginia are propelling that success:
By far the largest sector of the economy, agriculture has an economic impact of $52 billion annually and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
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Naturally, farmers compose a substantive portion of those jobs. Virginia has more than 40,000 farms, which occupy over 8 million acres of Virginia land, constituting 33 percent of its total land area.
The most commonly farmed crops are tobacco, grains, corn, peanuts, and cotton. Other prominent agricultural subsets include wine production, horse and cattle breeding, and aquaculture, including numerous fisheries.
There are over 200 aerospace firms currently operating in Virginia. They employ more than 30,000 workers at well-known companies like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Orbital Sciences, Boeing, and even Rolls-Royce, according to YesVirginia.org.
No other state has fulfilled as many aerospace contracts for the federal government in the past decade as Virginia, truly earning its status at the top industry in the state.
There are over 400 mines covering 17,000 acres, which produce a wide array of resources, including stone, cement, gravel, and sand. Also mined are minerals like gold, copper, arsenic, manganese, and iron, according to Virginia Department of Mines Minerals and Energy.
Many of the minerals extracted are then used in the construction of roads, buildings, ceramic works, and glass blowing.
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Once associated with distant possibilities of the future, nanotechnology and biotechnology are now integral facets of the present economy of Virginia. Combined, they contribute billions of dollars to the local economy annually, with computer chips representing the state's most profitable export
Virginia has a larger percentage of technology employees than any other state in the United States.
The U.S. Armed Forces round out the top five industries in Virginia, with several major military centers calling Virginia home.
Coupled with one of the country's largest naval bases in Norfolk, a leading marine training facility in Quantico, and CIA headquarters in Langley, some of the most well-known military installations dwell here.
Overall, the armed forces are well-represented with over 20 different bases within each branch of the armed forces actively functioning.
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