RIPLEY, W.Va. – Since 2017, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has made significant improvements to the WVDA Commodity Distribution Center located in Ripley, WV. The center is responsible for distribution of food provided by USDA programs to West Virginia schools and food banks serving all 55 counties in the state. In total, $1.4 million worth of improvements, mostly federally funded, have been made.
“The WVDA is in a unique position, compared to other agencies, as we manage all repairs to our facilities internally. This allows us to identify potential problems early and start working towards a solution much faster,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “Our goal from day one has been to find ways to modernize our facilities so the Department can better serve the agriculture community for years to come.”
In the last three years, the Department has made electrical upgrades, installed a new roof, made repairs to the loading dock, implemented new technological advances and compiled plans for future expansions for the Ripley facility. The list of improvements includes the fixing a foundational slip to a freezer wall that occurred this past summer. Funding for the repair is being covered by federal grants, as well as aid from Speedway.
“We thank Speedway for their assistance on this project. Making the structural fixes to the facility protects the many programs we host including the feeding of many of the children who attend West Virginia public schools. With Speedway’s help and funding approved by the USDA, very little state dollars were necessary for this project,” Leonhardt said.
In total, the Ripley Facility oversaw $34.2 million worth of food commodities in FY 19. The food distributed was received by 725 schools, 337 food pantries, 68 agencies working with senior citizens, 60 child and adult care programs and 46 summer feeding programs.
For more information or questions, contact Crescent Gallagher at email@example.com or 304-380-3922.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.