Known as home to the federal government major defense contractors biotech firms and universities it may come as a surprise that agriculture also plays a major role in metropolitan Washington’s land use and economy.
About 28% of the region’s land area is dedicated to agriculture and the industry contributes approximately $1 billion to the metropolitan Washington economy every year. Agricultural production is also quite varied ranging from tomatoes and potatoes to beef and beans.
Despite its size and diversity however the region’s agriculture is not meeting local food demands. And with more than a million people expected to move to this already rapidly-growing region in the next few decades the situation is likely only going to get worse without significant policy changes. That’s the message behind a new Council of Governments report What Our Region Grows.
The report still in draft form highlights the region’s current agricultural production as well as the gaps between current production and what’s needed to meet local demand. We’ll cover the report in more detail once it’s finalized but the draft version – complete with charts and graphs – makes for interesting reading during the holidays.