Department of Agriculture

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

When you think of some of West Virginia’s biggest economic drivers, extractive industries like coal or natural gas are likely the first things that often come to mind. But agriculture has been a fixture in West Virginia’s economy for hundreds of years. Yet today, farmers struggle to keep their business afloat. Take apple farming, for example. West Virginia has been producing apples since the late 1800s, even exporting them out of state. Now, as the cider industry expands, there’s an increasing demand for local apples. And some people think this is one economic development opportunity the state is overlooking. 


Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A small conference center and campground in Jackson County has stirred up plenty of controversy at the statehouse over the past few years.

Members of the West Virginia Board of Education want to get rid of their authority of the Cedar Lakes Conference Center, but state officials aren’t willing to pay the cost to let it go.

This year, lawmakers believe they’ve found a compromise that let’s the board off the hook while keeping Cedar Lakes open for the thousands of kids who attend camps there each year.

Golden Delicious
Agricultural Research Service / United States Department of Agriculture

The deadline is approaching for nominations to the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame.

The deadline for nominations is Feb. 16, and honorees will be enshrined July 16 at Jackson's Mill.

Carmen Champagne

If you spend any time outside these days, chances are you might be encountering some tiny black bugs. Lots of people mistake them for ticks, but they are actually Yellow Poplar Weevils. Agriculture officials say they're damaging poplar trees across West Virginia. 

 

Deer
Scott Baue / U.S. Department of Agriculture

Senate Bill 237 was on the House Floor Thursday. The bill would create the Captive Cervid Farming Act, which would allow West Virginians to own farms to raise deer and elk. The bill would transfer regulation of these farms from the Division of Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The state Department of Agriculture’s proposed list of restricted pets in West Virginia was revisited by members of the Legislative Rule Making Committee yesterday.

@Doug88888 / http://bit.ly/1vAKcAI

The public has an opportunity to weigh in on the state's proposed list of dangerous animals.
 
The list developed by the Wild and Dangerous Animal Board includes chimpanzees, crocodiles and giraffes.

Ownership of animals on the list will be prohibited. But residents who already own creatures on the list can keep them if they get a state permit.

West Virginia Department of Agriculture

The state Department of Agriculture is seeking nominations for a program honoring contributions by women to the agriculture, forestry and specialty crop industries.
 
The West Virginia Women in Agriculture program has recognized 26 women since it began in 2010. Previous honorees have been involved in a variety of fields including beef, dairy, education, specialty crop production and forestry.
 

West Virginia Department of Agriculture

New federal data show that the value of West Virginia's agricultural products increased 37 percent over the past five years to a total of $809 million.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture says officials recently met with federal officials to review preliminary results from the Census of Agriculture.
 

WV Department of Agriculture

A legislative audit of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture under Commissioner Gus Douglass has revealed erroneous and fraudulent reimbursements and other practices that may have cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The audit requested by current Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick was released Monday by the Legislative Auditor's Office.

The audit cited seemingly "unethical" practices surrounding the farm loan program under Douglas between July 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

The results of a preliminary legislative audit have found evidence of mismanagement of a $5 million revolving loan program administered by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.