Soybeans are an important staple of Virginia agricultural exports and are among the top five crops exported to markets overseas. In the last agricultural census, soybeans were also the top revenue-generating crop with more than $300 million in sales.
The lucrative Virginia crop is sought out as far away as Japan, where fermented soybeans are eaten as a breakfast item called natto.
Hillary Mehl, assistant professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, is working to keep Virginia a sustainable, soybean-producing powerhouse.
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Agricultural and forestry exports have been on the rise in the commonwealth for the last three years and most recently topped out at more than $3.35 billion.
Soybeans, lumber, tobacco, wheat, and pork — all commodities for which Virginia Tech provides crucial research and Extension services — are among the state’s top exports year after year.
That record-breaking dollar figure is built on staples of the export market, but it has also continued to climb because of breakthroughs into prestigious luxury markets, like wine. In a cultural coup, Virginia wine was exported to the United Kingdom for the first time two years ago, a feather in the cap of the state’s winemakers and a testament to the craftsmanship and quality of the commonwealth’s wine industry that is flourishing with the help of research and Extension.
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