16 Apr

Greenhouse sales open to the public

David | April 16th, 2015

The Evansdale Greenhouse will be open to the public every weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays starting this weekend (April 17-19) and lasting through mid-May (May 15-17). The WVU Horticulture Club will be selling a wide variety of bedding plants, hanging baskets, herbs and perennials. Funds will be used for educational trips and donations of plant materials to non-profits in the Morgantown area. For more information, contact Sven Verlinden at

15 Apr

West Virginia University students swept all categories in the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition, taking three $10,000 first prize awards to help make a business idea come to life.

Emily Wells, Precision Agriculture Sampling Services (PASS), Lifestyle & Innovation category; Jordon Masters, Allegheny Genesis, Hospitality & Tourism Category; and Madelyn Harwell and Joshua Waggoner, Sustainable Dental Products, STEM category (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) took home first place for their respective categories in the competition on April 10. Wells is majoring in agribusiness management and rural development. Masters is majoring in horticulture. Harwell earned a degree in animal and nutritional sciences prior to beginning studies in WVU’s School of Dentistry.

The West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition allows students from around the state to pitch a business idea and receive education, skills, contacts and motivation necessary to start a viable start-up company in the state. The winner receives funding, in addition to legal, marketing and accounting services, as well as incubator space.

The surprise of the evening was an additional prize due to a last-minute investment of $10,000 from event sponsor Bodnar Investment Group, which opted to invest in Pubstomper Brewing Company. The business plan idea came from a team in the Hospitality & Tourism category, and included WVU students Cody Cheesebrough and Chris DeFazio.

The statewide business plan competition finals saw participation from five colleges and universities. The event was hosted by the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, located within the WVU College of Business and Economics.

Visit WVU Today for the full story.

16 Mar

Club to screen Symphony of the Soil

David | March 16th, 2015
Symphony of the Soil Poster The West Virginia University Plant and Soil Sciences Club will screen “Symphony of the Soil” at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 19, in 1001 Agricultural Sciences Building. A panel discussion on the diverse value of soils to the natural environment and society will follow the film. The screening is free and open to the public.

A film from Debora Koons Garcia, “Symphony of the Soils is a feature-length film that explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world’s most highly esteemed soil scientists, farmers, and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story.

The 68th United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS). According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the purpose of IYS 2015 is to “increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions” ( The WVU Plant and Soil Science Club is contributing to this effort to spread awareness of how soils influence everyday life and to inspire others to respect and nurture this vital resource. The club’s goal is to highlight these themes and issues to the entire WVU community as a way to demonstrate how soil health and soil security relates to all of our interests. In addition to this screening of “Symphony of the Soil,” you can learn more about soils and IYS 2015 by visiting the traveling IYS 2015 display currently in the Evansdale Library and following the Plant and Soil Science Club on Facebook (

The post-screening discussion panel will feature WVU’s Jeff Skousen, Jim Kotcon and Jim Rye, Mary Beth Adams of the USDA Forest SErvice, Katey Yoast of the West Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists..

For more information on “Symphony of the Soil,” please see, on Twitter @soilsymphony and on Facebook at

17 Feb

Input needed from beginning farmers

David | February 17th, 2015

If you’re an aspiring or beginning farmer, the West Virginia University Extension Service is seeking your input through a survey to help support development of beginning farmers’ training programs and resources in West Virginia.

“Growing new farmers is the key to the future of agriculture in West Virginia – the WVU Extension Service and its partners around the state are eager to support beginning farmers in making the transition into a career of farming,” said WVU Extension Service Agriculture Economics Specialist Doolarie Singh-Knights. “But, we need feedback from aspiring and beginning farmers to help us identify how our partner agencies and organizations can best assist farmers to thrive. We want to identify what resources are needed, what educational opportunities should be developed, and what resources are missing that will help beginning farmers be successful entrepreneurs.”

Results will be used by beginning farmer service providers to guide efforts toward solving the highest priority beginning farmer problems and provide the right trainings and resources to meet existing needs.

The study is a collaborative effort between the WVU Extension Service, West Virginia State University, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the West Virginia Farm and Food Coalition, and the West Virginia Veterans to Agriculture Program.

Connecting the people of West Virginia to the University’s resources and programs is the primary goal of WVU Extension Service and its 55 offices throughout the state. Local experts, like WVU Extension’s agents and specialists, work to help improve the lives and wellbeing of youths, workforces, communities, farms and businesses through trusted research in the counties in which they serve.

For more information about this survey, please contact Singh-Knights at or (304) 293-7606. To learn more about related WVU Extension programs, visit, or contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.

9 Feb

West Virginia University is one of a small number of schools with a well-established organic agriculture initiative, and its research activities filter into academics and outreach.

Linda Butler A retired WVU faculty member has enhanced the project’s capacities. Linda Butler, professor emeritus of entomology, has endowed the Butler Organics Discretionary Fund to support WVU’s Organic Research Project in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.

During her tenure at WVU, Butler was part of the multidisciplinary group of researchers who launched the initiative in 1998 and began transitioning the traditional horticulture farm into a certified organic facility.

“Personally, I have always been very committed to environmentally friendly means of food production, having grown my own organic fruits and vegetables for many years,” Butler said. “Additionally, I wanted to support the Organic Research Project because it is now a long-lived project that has a strong past and, with help, can continue successfully into the future.”

The Organic Research Project encompasses many disciplines, including entomology, animal science, horticulture, soil science, crops agronomy and weed management.

– See more at:

4 Feb
WV Small Farm Conference

Registration is open for West Virginia University Extension Service’s 11th annual West Virginia Small Farm conference, which helps West Virginia farmers grow their farm enterprise and cultivate a brighter future for the state’s agriculture industry.

The conference takes place Feb. 26-28 at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston and offers rigorous sessions and valuable information to suit a variety of farm-related interests and needs.

“With the ever-growing topic of buying local, eating local foods and shopping at farmers markets, there’s no better place to learn, collaborate and help grow West Virginia’s small farm and agriculture industry than the Small Farm Conference,” said Tom McConnell, program leader for WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center.

He said the conference educates farmers how to better understand their farm business, how to effectively market their products and more.

– See more at:

28 Jan

Writing for the Daily Athenaeum, Kendall Snee offers a construction update on the new Agricultural Sciences Building:

“It will harbor a great learning atmosphere for those students going into the agricultural professions. A new agricultural building has been needed for quite some time now,” said Nathaniel Bruce, a senior environmental and natural resources economics student.

Click here to read the article.

22 Dec

2015 Garden Calendars are available

David | December 22nd, 2014
2015 Garden Calendar

Ensure a healthier harvest with the help of a perennial favorite—the 2015 West Virginia University Extension Service Garden Calendar—available at local WVU Extension Service County Offices beginning the week of Dec. 22. – See more at:

15 Dec

The West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design will build on its foundation as an innovation hub with the support of a $157,000 grant from The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and $100,000 from Farm Credit.

The combination of private and public funds will enable the creation of the WVU Davis College Young Innovators Fellowship Program, which will provide students motivated to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to rural environments and communities the skills to do so. The program will accept students from any of the College’s academic programs, from agriculture to housing and all forms of business and technology development.

Advancing the ways and means for WVU graduates to more quickly and successfully contribute to the region’s economic development is the goal. Measuring the success of graduates this way is a new approach.

“Enhancing and sustaining the rural economy of West Virginia is vitally important to the state, and there’s a clear need for innovation and entrepreneurship to support that,” said Dan Robison, dean of the Davis College. “Through the Young Innovators Fellowship Program, we’ll be able to build an even more fertile entrepreneurial environment among students, faculty, farmers, rural business and technology developers, and others who have a stake in these critical issues.”

The program will also provide a think-tank atmosphere, allowing students to interact with many organizations and governmental agencies that are focused on sustainable agriculture and rural development in the state, as well as potential funders for future entrepreneurial activities.

The program will include internships, provide service opportunities for undergraduate students to give back to the state and develop networking and mentoring opportunities.

– See more at:

8 Dec

Writing for The Daily Athenaeum, Jennifer Skinner introduces the finalists for the 2014-15 WV Collegiate Business Plan Competition, including horticulture major Jordon Masters:

“I have spent my whole life on a family farm, and I could not see myself doing anything else than providing food for people. Being involved with a business that is involved in its community is the personal connection I receive,” Masters said. “I hope to be able to meet the needs of my community and that small scale farming can once again have a large impact on the agriculture world.”

See the full list of finalists here.