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Urban Ag Conference to have track geared toward veterans

Register-Herald - 4/14/2019

April 14-- Apr. 14--In May, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) is partnering with West Virginia State University (WVSU) to offer an educational track at the West Virginia Urban Agriculture and Community Expo to be held May 3-4 on the WVSU campus in Institute.

"The WVDA is working with supporting partners to find ways to increase opportunities for farmers throughout West Virginia. Part of this focus is on workforce development to tackle the growing age gap for farmers nationwide," said West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt in a release. "Veterans are a perfect target audience to meet agriculture's future labor needs."

The event will feature a class on small orchards, with a booth featuring WV Grown, a state branding program for agricultural products, and a booth about WVDA's Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program.

Leonhardt will also be in attendance to discuss programs aimed specifically at veterans.

"This partnership between WVSU Extension Service and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture forwards our joint mission of service to veterans transitioning into agriculture as a career," Dr. Annette Ericksen, assistant program director for agriculture and natural resources with WVSU Extension Service, said in the release. "In addition, the backyard gardening and youth programming offerings during the new community expo portion of the event also provide support and education to military families."

Along with programs geared toward veterans, the expo will feature tracks for West Virginians interested in backyard and hobby gardens.

"The overall goal of the conference is to enhance sustainable food systems, cultural diversity and environmental stewardship in support of healthy lifestyles and economic security for West Virginia residents through education, technical assistance, public and private partnerships and community engagement," the release said.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Annette Ericksen at annette.eriksen@wvstateu.edu.

Email: mcombs@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @mattcombsRH

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(c)2019 The Register-Herald (Beckley, W.Va.)

Visit The Register-Herald (Beckley, W.Va.) at www.register-herald.com

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