Slack Is Named Honorary Commissioner

Hurricane Middle School Student Picked

A Putnam County girl is one of 6 students, ranging in age from 9-16, who will serve as Honorary Commissioners of Agriculture for the Day during the 2017 State Fair of West Virginia, August 10th-19th. The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) sponsored the contest with the theme “Local Food: Why It Matters.” Each student entered an essay, video or photo presentation explaining the importance of locally grown food and how it impacts the state’s economy, environment and health.

“We wanted to provide a firsthand experience for students across the state to see what careers in agriculture look like. No better way to do that than to shadow my staff and myself during one our busiest times of the year,” stresses West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “We hope these students take away a new appreciation for our food system after this experience.”

The winners will spend the day with Commissioner Leonhardt and the WVDA staff. They’ll sit in on meetings and events, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the fair and will be featured in the September issue of the Market Bulletin.

The 2017 Honorary Commissioners of Agriculture for a Day contest winners are:

  • Sophie Slack – Hurricane Middle School, Putnam County
    Thirteen-year-old Sophie loves to garden. She grows vegetables as well as flowers and aloe and loves to share her harvest with others. She attends the West Virginia University Extension Service Camp.
  • Maeva Robinson – Rainelle Elementary, Greenbrier County
    Maeva, 9, knows what it means to put in a hard day’s work. She spends a few days a week after school working in the Rainelle Elementary high tunnel. Her parents built her a greenhouse at home to extend the planting season. She spends her summers working at the farmers’ market. Maeva says, “Locally grown food matters because it builds the community and supports a clean environment.”

  • Elizabeth Ours – Petersburg High School, Grant County
    Elizabeth loves animals. The 16-year-old is a member of FFA and shows livestock at the Grant County Fair. She is a past winner of the Regional Creed and Public Speaking Contests for FFA. Her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) with FFA includes: pigs, strawberries, an aquaponics project and working in greenhouses.

  • Emily Yates – East Hardy High School, Hardy County
    At just 15-years-old, Emily Yates is a seasoned pro on the farm. She raises bulls, heifers, hogs, sheep and goats, which she will be selling at this year’s State Fair. Emily also grows corn, strawberries, and green beans on the farm.

  • Julianna Rexroad – Braxton County High School, Braxton County
    In 2016, 13-year-old Julianna participated in the 4-H heifer project. She showed her registered Limousin heifer at Junior Nationals. Julianna likes working with her grandpa on his 300-acre farm.

  • Devin Price – Weir High School, Hancock County
    Fourteen-year-old Devin has grown up on two family farms. One in Doddridge County, the other in the Eastern Panhandle. Devin’s favorite thing on the farm are tractors and has been researching them since he was little. Devin grows beans, tomatoes, and peppers in his garden. Devin says, “Local food provides good, sustainable jobs for many members of the community.”