Monday, May 23, 2022

Play

Pennsylvania tries to land a regional hydrogen hub, a new study confirms college grads are twice as likely to get good jobs, and a U.S. military plane flies 35 tons of baby formula from Germany to Indianapolis.

Play

Operation Fly Formula's first shipment arrives, worries of global food shortages grow, President Biden is concerned about a monkeypox outbreak, and a poll says Americans support the Title 42 border policy.

Play

From off-Broadway to West Virginia: the stories of the deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion, baby formula is on its way back to grocery shelves, and federal funds will combat consolidation in meatpacking.

WV Group Aims to Acquire Former Coal Land for New Farmers

Play

Thursday, January 14, 2021   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- To help the next generation of farmers, a West Virginia community farm group is raising funds to acquire land for future growers and beef up a sustainable agriculture economy in a former coal region.

Ian McSweeney, director of the Agrarian Trust, said the national organization is working with its Mountain State arm, the West Virginia Agrarian Commons, to buy an 82-acre farm in Fayette County with a 99-year lease.

He noted the average age of farmland owners is about 65 and the cooperative farm will lower costs to make it easier for new growers to enter agriculture production.

"Existing farmers are aging out, the cost of farmland and farming is considerable, which leads to 37 mid-sized farms a day closing," McSweeney explained. "It's just financially unsustainable for farmers to exit and next-generation farmers to take over."

In a state with 12 million acres of farmland, the Commons group wants to preserve Appalachia's agrarian way of life while also transforming formerly coal-dominated land.

Individuals and local businesses are partnering to raise funds for the farmland. For more information, go online to agrariantrust.org.

The farm purchase will reverse a trend of absentee holding groups and development companies accumulating West Virginia acreage and not using it.

Susanna Wheeler, board president of the state Agrarian Commons group, said land is expensive and many new farmers are forced to take on so much debt, they can't afford to use sustainable farming practices.

"Agriculture has pretty big problems that it needs to solve," Wheeler asserted. "We need farms and we need them to be successful and we need them to be sustainable, and that is a critical component to being able to meet this human right, which is access to food."

Once purchased, the Fayette County farm will become the New Roots Community Farm, which will expand food access for the region. About one in seven West Virginia residents is food insecure.

Disclosure: Agrarian Trust contributes to our fund for reporting on Environmental Justice, Public Lands/Wilderness, Rural/Farming, and Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Around 17% of bachelor's degrees awarded to Black students nationwide come from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and research shows HBCUs boost economic mobility and generational wealth.(Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

One of North Carolina's oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities is finding new ways to help students stay enrolled and graduate. Recent …


Social Issues

A new survey finds 8 in 10 Kentucky parents say afterschool programs could help their child combat social and mental-health struggles by reducing unpr…

Environment

A technology that once existed only in science fiction soon could emerge as a viable solution to climate change. The city of Flagstaff has added …


Environment

Minnesota has more than 10,000 brownfield sites, which are abandoned or idled properties in need of contamination removal. State officials will soon …

Georgetown researchers found that Black American women are the most likely to have to turn to student loans for college, and hold the most student loan debt, compared with their peers. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

By age 35, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher are about twice as likely as workers with just a high school diploma to have a good job - one …

Environment

The mayor of Huntington, where more than 200 homes were recently damaged by severe flooding, said now is the state's "one chance" to prevent other …

Social Issues

Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in North Dakota, prompting state officials to launch an online dashboard, where the public …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021