Forages are the foundation of the state’s animal agriculture and contribute millions of dollars annually to Virginia farms. Forages are produced on 75% of farms.
It is estimated that 3 million acres of pasture and 1.5 million acres of hay and silage are harvested annually in Virginia. This acreage represents 70 % of the open farmland in the state. Over 75 and 65% of marketed beef and dairy products respectively are derived directly from forages and forages provide even larger proportions of all feeds consumed by sheep and horses. In gross value, hay is considered the state’s third largest crop.
The bottom line is this: in Virginia, a viable animal agriculture depends on forages.