What can people in West Virginia do to make the state more economically productive and diverse, particularly to overcome the loss of many of its traditional big money industries?
How about agriculture?
A crazy idea considering the rugged terrain of much of the Mountain State, but when you look further, is it such a crazy idea after all?
The Sunday Gazette-Mail featured a group of farmers working together at a place you’d least expect it, the grounds of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank.
Last week, farmers planted the last of six five-acre plots on a stretch of level land between the Observatory’s headquarters building and the 100-meter Green Bank Telescope with potatoes. The work, done by six teams of Pocahontas County farmers using a state-owned planting machine, is part of an effort by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to encourage farmers to consider growing potatoes as a new cash crop.
Records show that in 1927, West Virginia’s best year for agricultural production, about 53,000 acres were devoted to potato production statewide, compared with less than 1,000 acres today.
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