Virginia Secretary Of Agriculture Lohr set for opening keynote at 2023 CEA Summit East

Address: 'Virginia’s commitment to next generation agriculture: Leading the indoor farming revolution'

by CEA inSight
Virginia secretary of Agriculture matthew Lohr

Be in your seats at the 2023 CEA Summit East and ready to roll at 8:45 am on September 19! That’s when Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr will kick off the opening morning keynote address for the 2nd annual Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Summit East set for Danville, Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) Institute Conference Center, September 19-20, 2023.

The CEA Summit East is co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con and the Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center – a partnership between the IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Secretary Lohr’s presentation sets the stage for two days of education and networking designed to bring CEA business and academic community members together to boost growth opportunities for the industry as a whole.

Commitment to next-gen agriculture

During his keynote address, “Virginia’s Commitment to Next Generation Agriculture: Leading the Indoor Farming Revolution,” Secretary Lohr will discuss Virginia’s leadership role in the CEA sector, including its investment in research and development, workforce training and infrastructure to support CEA industry growth. The session promises to give attendees valuable insights into Virginia’s strategic CEA plans, initiatives, support mechanisms and opportunities that exist for collaboration and innovation.

As a fifth-generation farmer, raised on a Shenandoah Valley century family farm, Secretary Lohr has spent his entire life working for the betterment of the agricultural industry and rural America. A Virginia Tech grad in Agricultural Education, he has more than 30 years of experience in leadership development and motivational programs.

In early 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin appointed Lohr to serve as Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. In this role, he serves in the governor’s cabinet and oversees three state agencies: the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the Virginia Racing Commission.

“We are honored to have Secretary Lohr join us for the 2nd annual CEA Summit East. Virginia’s unique advantages make it an ideal hub for CEA companies and Secretary Lohr’s participation in our event further underscores the state’s commitment to fostering CEA industry innovation and growth. His keynote is the perfect kick-off to the insightful discussions, networking and growth opportunities that will all be part of this year’s event,” said Brian Sullivan, Indoor Ag-Con CEO.

“At the CEA Innovation Center, our mission revolves around moving the CEA industry forward through research, educational programming and industry support,” adds Dr. Scott Lowman, Co-Director of the CEA Innovation Center, and Vice President of Applied Research at IALR. “We are especially excited to have Secretary Lohr lead our keynote and highlight the pivotal role that public-private partnerships play in driving the growth of this sector. With his keynote, we look forward to showcasing how Virginia’s collaborative efforts are driving advancements that resonate far beyond our state borders.”

Custom-tailored sessions and networking

The CEA Summit East is custom-tailored for new and well-seasoned CEA industry members from throughout the Eastern United States, including indoor and greenhouse growers, facility owners and operators, educators, government officials, real estate developers, architects, construction specialists, sales and marketing teams and others.

During the two-day event, industry members will have the opportunity to hear from CEOs, researchers and experts leading keynotes, panels and breakout sessions; explore tabletop exhibits presenting the latest CEA innovations and services; and enjoy a host of networking opportunities ranging from meals and coffee breaks to an evening social event.

CEA Summit East quick facts:

WHEN:                Tuesday, September 19 – Wednesday, September 20, 2023

WHERE:              IALR Institute Conference Center, 150 Slayton Ave, Danville, VA 24540

INFO:                  For information on exhibiting or attending visit

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