CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV) – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) announced a greater commitment to the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Program. Under the newly renewed program, the department is providing additional staff, funding, a new logo and an increased effort to enroll veterans.
"When we took office in January, this was a top priority for my administration," said Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt. "We knew we had to elevate the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program to a higher priority to better serve our veteran population. As a retired marine, this hits home personally. It is vitally important, to me, to help my fellow veterans with the transition from the military to civilian life."
Under this relaunch, James McCormick will remain the director of the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program and will serve as an assistant director under the new Agriculture Business Development Division. He is joined by Taylor Ferrell who will serve as the program assistant.
"West Virginia has one of the highest veteran population, per capita, in the country," said McCormick. "Our mission is to recruit, re-train and mentor our men and women currently serving or those who have served our country for new career opportunities in agriculture. From business planning to capital investment, the West Virginia Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Program will assist our service men and women transition from the battlefield to field work."
During legislative budget hearings, Commissioner Leonhardt asked for an additional $250,000 appropriation for this program. Until now, the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program has been operating with a $7,500 budget with all funds coming from donations.