Eric Douglas Published

Legislature Approves Funding For Ag Lab At WVSU

close up of free range chickens in a field
West Virginia State University will soon be the site of a new agriculture lab.
Jacqueline Anders/Adobe Stock

In his State of the State Address, Gov. Jim Justice announced his intention to fund a state-of-the-art agricultural laboratory at West Virginia State University (WVSU).

Funding for the lab got cut during the budget process as West Virginia legislators were concerned about a $465 million federal clawback of COVID-19 relief funds. 

Ultimately, that did not happen because the state received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education.

Now, the West Virginia Legislature has approved a $50 million appropriation for the construction of the new facility.  

Once completed, it will house laboratory space for both WVSU and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

“This is another huge win for the people of West Virginia,” Justice said. “The immense need for a state-of-the-art agricultural lab is a topic I highlighted during my State of the State Address, and I’m glad to see this project finally get across the finish line. Additionally, I cannot think of a better home than West Virginia State University. We all know this is something that will create a huge impact for the agricultural industry and community in the Mountain State for generations to come.”

The new facility will provide laboratory and classroom space for WVSU faculty and students while also playing an important role in the creation of a new School of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the university.

The laboratory will also help build on WVSU’s Agricultural Research portfolio which includes: Aquaculture; Bioenergy and Bioproducts; Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology; Horticulture and Specialty Crop Production; Urban Forestry; Soil, Water, and Natural Resources Management; Vegetable Genomics and Disease Resistant Plant Breeding; Foodborne Pathogens; Value Added Food Products; Sustainable Food Packaging Technologies; Native Pollinators; and Environmental Engineering and Water Systems Modeling. 

“We are thankful to Gov. Jim Justice, Senate President Craig Blair and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw for this transformative investment to provide cutting edge research facilities for the state of West Virginia,” WVSU President Ericke S. Cage said. “Agriculture is a tremendous part of our state’s economy and this new facility will play a vital role in educating the workforce of tomorrow while supporting the agricultural research and development that is already underway. I look forward to working with Gov. Jim Justice’s office and State Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt as we bring this important facility to life.”