KEYSER - Kent Leonhardt, West Virginia commissioner of agriculture, in his traveling throughout the state visiting county government officials, was present at the Mineral County Commission on Tuesday evening.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - Kent Leonhardt, West Virginia commissioner of agriculture, in his traveling throughout the state visiting county government officials, was present at the Mineral County Commission on Tuesday evening.
He said that many people in the state are not aware that state’s department of agriculture even exists.
Leonhardt told the commissioners “I work for everyone in this room and everyone in this state.”
He added that West Virginia is one of the 12 states that elects the commissioner of agriculture, while this position in the remaining 38 states are appointed by their governor.
Giving an update concerning staff veterinarians, Leonhardt said, “We now have four on staff and are better prepared to tackle animal diseases.”
He also spoke about the hemp (non-drug) industry in the state by saying that over 100 farmers have been permitted to grow the product utilizing 2,500 acres.
“This will help West Virginia thrive,” Leonhardt said, and, “We are always looking to bring ag businesses into the state.
He also said the timber industry in the state is struggling due to tariffs and consumer tastes, however he named Allegheny Wood Products in Grant County as a top industry in that category.
Leonhardt gave one of his top priorities as commissioner of agriculture and that is “to make sure our food supply is safe.”
In other business, the commissioners are continuing to make appointments to county agencies, and those recently reappointed to the Mineral County Development Authority are Shelley Friend, Scott Staley, and John Lusk, along with new member Terry Stephens.