CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Agriculture Advisory Board released its five-year plan for further developing the state’s agriculture economy, which includes creating connections with resources and producers, supporting the developing of infrastructure and pushing young people to enter the agricultural industry.

The report, “A Shared Agenda for Growing West Virginia’s Agricultural Economy,” comes after the board received input from more than 850 participants at 14 regional meetings or through an online survey.

According to the report, the state should develop strategies for making connections for producers and agritourism parties, boosting infrastructure investment and construction to encourage the sale of products, encouraging youth programs and training to increase the number of farmers and allowing farms to identify and use new and available land.

“There is no doubt that agriculture plays a significant role in the future of West Virginia’s economic prosperity,” West Virginia University Extension Service Dean Steven Bonanno said.
“This plan provides us with a roadmap to help us enhance agricultural opportunities, develop our future leaders and work to ensure we have the proper tools and resources in place to be successful.”

The board appointed a steering committee responsible for leading a long-term sustainable plan for taking full advantage of the agriculture sector. Members of the board include representatives of West Virginia University, the state Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Farm Bureau, the United State Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the West Virginia Conservation Agency and West Virginia State University Extension Service.

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