WVDA to hold dairy industry meetings in November

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Dairy cattle graze in a meadow in Hampshire County, West Virginia. (Photo: Stijn te Strake)

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is inviting milk producers and the public to discuss the state of the dairy industry in West Virginia and will host five meetings in November to gather input, according to Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.

“The dairy industry is struggling across the country, just as it is here in West Virginia,” Leonhardt said.

“As genetics improve and demand stays flat, farmers are finding it harder to stay afloat. Our goal is to discuss how we can improve the regulatory process, as well as find new ways to grow the industry.”

The WVDA will begin regulating milk products as of January 1, 2020, per the state Legislature, which transferred authority from the Department of Health and Human Resources during the 2019 session.

The two agencies have been working together to transfer all resources and information over the last six months. Previously, the WVDA only regulated Grade-B milk products as well as managed the state’s herd-sharing program, Leonhardt said.

“We have a lot of experience related to the dairy industry housed within the department,” he said, “but we thought it was appropriate to hear from the public as we take on this new responsibility. Our goal is to have a clear plan on how to move the industry forward.”

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The public meetings will be held on the following dates at locations at Ripley, Kearneysville, Union, Triadelphia, and Kingwood.

  • 7 p.m. November 4 – Cedar Lakes Conference Center (Holt Lodge), 82 FFA Drive, Ripley, West Virginia 25271
  • 7 p.m. November 6 – Kearneysville Tree Fruit Research and Education Center, 67 Apple Harvest Lane, Kearneysville, West Virginia 25430
  • 12 p.m. November 14 – Monroe County Diner, 37 Main Street, Union, West Virginia 24983
  • 7 p.m. November 19 – Highlands Convention Center, 355 Wharton Circle, Triadelphia, West Virginia 26537
  • 11 a.m. WVU Extension Office – Kingwood, 115 West Court Street, Kingwood, West Virginia 26537

For more information or to RSVP, contact Rachel Shockey at 304-558-2226 or rshockey@wvda.us

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