Agricultural Leaders Head to the Mountain State for SASDA

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Commissioners, Directors and Secretaries of Agriculture from 16 southern states and territories will gather in West Virginia next month to hold their annual meeting and tour some of the State’s agriculture industries. This will be the first time in 15 years that the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (SASDA) has held their meeting in the Mountain State. The event will take place at Canaan Valley Resort, June 4-8.

“Given supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, inflation and the pandemic, it is clear we must create robust policies that put American industries first. During SASDA, we hope to discuss ways to foster economic growth, through agriculture, in order to create resiliency within our food systems. We can no longer rely so heavily on foreign sources of energy and food,” West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said.

Commissioner Leonhardt, who was elected President of SASDA during last year’s annual meeting, chose West Virginia to host the 2022 event. He will be joined by agriculture leaders from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and the Virgin Islands. The theme for the five-day event will be “Rooted in the Mountain State” and focus on conservation, local agriculture and how to further develop food systems within the United States.

During their stay, the agriculture leaders will hold business meetings, conduct policy discussions and tour farms and agribusinesses in the Potomac highlands. Those include a fish hatchery, WVU’s Reymann Memorial Farm, Allegheny Wood Products, Misty Mountain Farm and more. The participants will also dine on food grown and produced right here in West Virginia. There will also be time for SASDA members and their families to enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, golf, sporting clays and hikes.

“It is a big deal to have agricultural leaders from around the country and D.C. setting national agricultural policy right in here in the Mountain State,” Leonhardt said. “Our staff has been planning this event for over a year now, and we look forward to showing the rest of the nation the country’s best kept secrets. We look forward to a productive five days.”

SASDA is one of four sub-regional bodies that make up the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). SASDA is unique as 10 of the commissioners or secretaries of agriculture are elected. There are only 12 elected commissioners or secretaries of agriculture in the country.

For more information, contact Crescent Gallagher at 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.