The West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame is an incorporated, independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation, devoted to honoring those West Virginians who have made outstanding contributions to the “establishment, development, advancement or improvement” of the agricultural and forestry industries in West Virginia and the nation.
A secondary purpose is the establishment and maintenance of an agricultural museum to preserve memorabilia and record the history of the industries.
The West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame had its beginning in informal conversations between West Virginians who thought it desirable to honor their fellow citizens who had achieved national and international fame in agriculture. Mr. J. Kenton Lambert proposed a Hall of Fame at the annual meeting of the West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals in 1972 and again in January 1973 with the concurrence of Mr. Gus R. Douglass, Commissioner of Agriculture. On March 19, 1973, Mr. Lambert sent letters to all agricultural leaders in West Virginia suggesting a meeting to discuss the establishment of an Agricultural Hall of Fame. The response to the letters was enthusiastic and a meeting was held at Fairlea, W.Va. on August 22.
A committee was formed at that meeting and, under the able co-chairmanship of Mr. Lambert and Commissioner Douglass, significant progress was made. Meetings were held and ideas were committed to paper and distributed for evaluation. Finally, on April 30, 1974, after nearly two years of intensive discussions and three formal meetings, 28 agricultural organizations joined forces to charter the West Virginia Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation.
During that time, an agricultural seal and motto were designed and adopted, memberships were actively solicited and two groups of honorees were nominated, elected and enshrined in a temporary Hall of Fame at the Jackson's Mill State 4-H Camp.
In 1976, the Board of Governors voted to include forestry into the Hall of Fame and to change the Hall of Fame name to the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame. They adopted a new seal to include forestry and selected Jackson's Mill in Lewis County as the permanent site for the Hall of Fame Museum. Later, the concept of regional museums was approved. A regional agricultural museum, under the directorship of Walden Roush, was established in Point Pleasant, Mason County, on October 11, 1980.
In Memory of J. Kenton Lambert
Mr. Lambert was primarily responsible for the organization of the West Virginia
Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame Foundation.