Farming

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Forecasters say Mother Nature is putting a chill on the outdoor growing season in West Virginia and several other states.

The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for most of West Virginia early Monday. The weather service says temperatures are expected to dip into the lower 30s in much of the state.

Homeowners are being advised to cover sensitive plants or bring them indoors to avoid being killed if left uncovered.

Robert Thompson
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House of Delegates are looking for ways to help grow the state’s agriculture industry. A bill in the chamber’s Agriculture Committee would require the state to purchase more locally grown food.

House Bill 2566 creates the West Virginia Fresh Food Act. As introduced, the bill would require state funded institutions to purchase at least 20 percent of their produce from West Virginia farmers.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll travel to Sugar Bottom Farm in Clay County West Virginia to meet Veteran Eric Grandon, the first veteran to go through the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program.

Paw Paw
Joey Aloi

Those who’ve eaten a pawpaw before often say that the creamy, tropical fruit resembles a mix of a mango and a banana, or a mango and an avocado. They often can’t believe that the fruit is native to Appalachia.

Data Farming: How Big Data Is Revolutionizing Big Ag

Sep 19, 2016
Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley ReSource

It’s harvest time and a semi full of corn just pulled onto the scales at Seven Springs Farm in Cadiz, Kentucky. On the scale, the analytics work begins: moisture content, weight, production rates, and more are all recorded.

Caroline and Bunny
Roxy Todd / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The USDA estimates that 6,000 West Virginia farmers suffered damage as a result of the flooding in late June. Farmers lost over $3 million worth of crops, livestock, and fencing. But more than the monetary cost- there’s also an emotional toll that’s affecting some of these farmers. One couple in Greenbrier County says they almost gave up after losing two dozen of their rabbits, and all of their vegetable crops, in the high water. 

chickens, Hopecrest, Hopecrest chickens, grapes, Tracey Lea Frisch
Anne Li / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Tracey Lea Frisch loves her pet chickens, which she keeps in her yard on the side of her house in the Hopecrest neighborhood in Morgantown. 

 

“This is Pudding and Vanilla and Mr. Looster and Lucky and Star and Moonlight and that’s Roadrunner, and that’s Fluffy - the big one,” she said as she fed them grapes. “I have one broody; she’s pretending to have chicks. It’s not going to happen.” 

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Small-scale farmers in the region often find it challenging to keep their land sustainable while staying competitive in the marketplace. 

The Ohio Valley ReSource's Nicole Erwin visited a farm that’s doing both with a method called rotational grazing. She found that this “new” approach grows from some very old ideas.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There’s a growing trend across the country — folks are looking for more local foods. Here in Appalachia we’ve got a reputation for being able to survive. Many families have gotten by with a garden in their backyard.  Not everybody here makes a living mining coal. On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re going to take a look at some of the benefits and challenges of farming.

Cecelia Mason / WV Public Radio

West Virginia officials are in the process of creating a trail that highlights the state's agricultural tourism offerings.

A news release from Wild, Wonderful West Virginia, the state's tourism arm, says industry partners can suggest events, attractions or destinations to be considered for the West Virginia Food and Farm Trail.

You’re probably well aware that in places like southern West Virginia, it’s really tough right now for coal miners, their families and many communities. So many miners have been laid off these past few years, and those who have a job don’t have a lot of hope that they will be able to keep what they have for much longer.

Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Facebook

West Virginia University at Parkersburg is joining a statewide effort to bring more veterans into farming or a related agribusiness.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture says Parkersburg is the first college to participate in the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture project.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s well-known what happened in the Kanawha Valley on January 9, 2014. A massive chemical leak into the Elk River left tap water unusable for 300,000 West Virginians for as many as ten days. The 2014 legislative session had just begun, and in response, lawmakers passed a bill that would require all aboveground storage tanks in the state be registered and regulated under the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Farm to Table Dining at Raleigh Co. Restaurant

Jun 9, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra reports from legislative interim meetings at the State Capital where debate over the state’s prevailing wage continues.  And we’ll visit the Dish Café in Raleigh County – a restaurant serving food from farm to table. 

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re taking a road trip through the region to find people who are reviving the old recipes and bringing something fresh to our plates. This episode is also helping us kick off a new segment, called Appetite Appalachia, which features restaurants and recipes with Appalachian roots.

Roxy Todd

At the end of a 2 and-a-half-mile, single lane road, sits La Paix Herb Farm. Owner Myra Bonhage-Hale is a retired social worker in her 70's. She and her son Bill live here, in a brightly painted, purple homestead that dates back to the 1800's. The house, formerly called the May-Kraus home, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The country’s top energy official visits Pittsburgh.

Veterans find gardening therapeutic.

We visit with Appalachian blogger and podcaster Dave Tabler.

And take a tour of a historic home in Hinton West Virginia.

Subscribe to the podcast through iTunes

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As the country continues to struggle to help its military members returning from war, one fledgling program in West Virginia isn’t wasting any time tackling the issues veterans face. 

From transitional job training to psychological therapy, members of the Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture Program say they’re discovering they can help West Virginia veterans in more ways than they ever anticipated.

Roxy Todd

Agri-tourism is not a new concept to Jennifer "Tootie" Jones. A fifth generation farmer, she raises grass fed beef on Swift Level Farm in Lewisburg. She was one of the farmers who attended yesterday’s event at the Capitol Market. She sells beef to 14 West Virginia restaurants and several retail stores, some of which are featured on a new online map, called Bon Appétit Appalachia, a project by the Appalachian Regional Commission. There’s also a print map, which lists 283 food destinations across the region, including:

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

One day you might be able to buy even more styles of 100 percent West Virginia-made beer. That is, if a current study shows the state is a good place to grow hops. 

Since the craft beer industry has taken off, West Virginia State University decided to study whether local farmers can benefit from the burgeoning beer industry by growing hops for the brewers to use.

West Virginia State extension agent Brad Cochran says the state agriculture department awarded a $23,000 grant for the project, which seem to be popular. He received 70 applications from folks wanting to participate.

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