Members from the Tug Valley FFA Chapter attended the USDA StrikeForce Meeting on Tuesday. The StrikeForce initiative is a collaboration of government agriculture agencies with the goal of rural economic development.
Representatives from WV Department of Agriculture, WV Farm Bureau, Senator Manchin’s Office, Congressman Nick Rahall, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Rural Development, Farm Credit, WV Conservation Agency, Farm to School, Small Business Administration and the National FFA Association were in attendance.
Congressman Nick Rahall spoke about implications of proposed EPA regulations on the control of all surface water. Even the use of a seasonal body of water would require an EPA permit, this would devastate the agriculture industry.
Walt Helmick, the Commissioner of Agriculture, recognized students in the National FFA Association as the future leaders in agriculture. In WV momentum is building behind agriculture production due to the falling number of industrial jobs available. Several programs are available from the WV Department of Agriculture including; veteran agribusiness planning, high tunnel funding assistance and support of the Farm to School Coalition. Tug Valley Agriculture Education received a $7000.00 Farm to School grant earlier this year. Currently, produce grown at TV is being served to students during lunch. Tug Valley Ag. Ed. Recently received a WVDE Program Modernization grant for $20000.00