- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia’s first crop aggregation facility, which is designed to help local farmers, has opened in Huntington.

Tuesday’s opening ceremony of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Huntington Aggregation Center included a demonstration of several pieces of new equipment that will be used at the facility, The Herald-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/29cNCt3 ) reported.

The opening of the facility gave local farmers a glimpse into how it could help them prepare their products for marketing.

State Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick said the facility will serve as a crop aggregation point for farmers and will be used for agricultural classes for students and farmers. He said the goal is to capture some of the approximately $6 billion that state residents spend on agricultural products produced outside the state.

“Farming has always been, and always will be, a part of West Virginia’s heritage and history,” he said.

Helmick called the facility a $475,000 investment that will help small farmers reach larger customer bases.

“Potatoes being grown in other parts of the state through the pilot project will be processed and packed at the Huntington facility during this year’s harvest,” he said. “We will help make these local farmers real entrepreneurs, making a good living in the state’s growing agriculture industry.”

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Information from: The Herald-Dispatch, https://www.herald-dispatch.com

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