Charleston, WV – Following the release of the Taskforce
on Agriculture Rural Prosperity Report, West Virginia Commissioner of
Agriculture Kent Leonhardt released the following statement.
“You have to
commend this administration for going out and talking to rural America. We
know areas like West Virginia are struggling, but there had not been a coordinated
effort like this from our federal government,” said Commissioner Leonhardt.
“The report by the USDA, as charged by President Trump, is a step in the
released by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue during the 2018 American Farm
Bureau Conference, highlights five calls to action. These include:
connectivity for rural America, improving the quality of life, supporting a
rural workforce, harnessing technological innovations and developing the
rural economy. The report pushes for reducing regulations, expanding
vocational education and utilizing natural resources among other polices.
“I am glad to see
veterans and vocational education were included in the report, as well as
access to broadband. Those are things we have been promoting from the state
level. If we are ever going to turn rural America around, we need to think
outside the box,” continued Leonhardt. “I am eager to see the policies
from the report put into action.”
USDA’s report was
developed by engaging Legislators, stakeholders, state and local
governments, as well as federal agencies for input over the last six
months. Secretary Perdue visited West Virginia last September as part of
the task force’s listening tour. During that visit, Commissioner Leonhardt
hosted a round table with state leaders to discuss issues facing West
Virginia. A tour of the Green Mining project, an effort to grow lavender on
a post mine site, followed.