Photo courtesy of Bennett’s Century Farm, Dry Ford Rd, Tucker County, WV

By Doug Bush

I recently saw some alarming statistics. In 1900, West Virginia had over 100,000 farmers farming nearly 9 million acres. Today, West Virginia has 21,489 farmers farming about 3.65 million acres. We have about 1/5th of the farms and a little more than 1/3rd of the acreage today verses what we did in 1900. Each year we lose farmland and farmers. The average age of a WV farm is 61. One of the challenges for agriculture is to recruit young farmers. Long hours of hard work pays off in a healthy lifestyle just made for raising a family. In WV 95% of our farms are family owned. This percentage leads the nation. I think our job in every community is to support locally grown, locally raised products. WV has over 88 farmers markets, giving us plenty of opportunity.

The Maple Syrup Festival in downtown Pickens is March 16-17. My wife and I enjoy the arts and crafts, eating more than our…

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