The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

November 22, 2012

Federal grants may help grow W.Va. food businesses

SHEPHERDSTOWN — New federal grants will help The Conservation Fund offer hands-on business coaching, training and marketing tips to help West Virginia farmers and food producers grow their ventures over the next three years.

The group’s Natural Capital Investment Fund in Shepherdstown will serve 17 counties, or nearly one-third of the state.

Initial support for the Value Chain Cluster Initiative came from a federal Rural Jobs Accelerator Challenge Grant, a partnership involving the Economic Development Administration, the USDA Rural Community Development Initiative and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Thirteen grants were awarded, two of them to West Virginia, said Marten Jenkins, president of the NCIF.

The state then won $900,000 in matching funds from various partners, Jenkins said. They include the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, Collaborative for a 21st Century Appalachia and the New Appalachian Farm and Research Center.

The USDA’s agricultural census says the number of West Virginia farmers selling products directly to consumers grew 39 percent between 2002 and 2007, and that number is still growing.

A separate January study by Downstream Strategies of Morgantown suggested the state could create more than 1,700 jobs if all West Virginians bought and consumed local produce during the growing season. Other jobs would likely be created in related industries the initiative targets, such as processing kitchens, slaughterhouses and distribution companies.

There has never been such great opportunity for local food producers, said Tom McConnell, leader of the West Virginia Small Farm Center at WVU Extension Servicek.

“Local food can make a better life for the farmers, but it can also increase the job opportunities for communities that stand up and get involved by adding value, performing the marketing and trucking and all of those things,” he said.

“One county school system in West Virginia spent $1.5 million on food, providing the equivalent of 57 full time jobs,” McConnell said. “Now, will those be here or someplace else? That’s for us to decide.”

 

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • W.Va., 11 other states, ask Supreme Court to declare new EPA rules illegal

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Friday that West Virginia led a bipartisan group of 12 states that are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to declare illegal a settlement agreement in which the EPA promised to issue its now-pending rule concerning existing coal-fired power plants.

    August 1, 2014

  • Ebola outbreak moving faster than control efforts

    An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital.

    August 1, 2014

  • Oak Hill man arrested for selling drugs to police officers

    A Fayette County man is in jail after his arrest Thursday evening for several drug offenses, according to a press release from the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

    August 1, 2014

  • Suspect arrested, faces felony charges following shooting incident

    A Mercer County man was arrested and arraigned on felony charges Thursday after a domestic altercation led to a shooting incident in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    August 1, 2014

  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday. The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.

     

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.

     

    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years.  Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day. A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha announces intention to lay off 1,100 surface miners

    The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output. It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak domestic and international markets and low coal prices.

     

    July 31, 2014

  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014