About Agriculture Innovation at Eastern
With supporting funds from the USDA Rural Business Development Grant, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) Eastern's IREED launched agriculture programming and initiatives to help drive new economic opportunities in agriculture. Eastern's IREED understands that successful programming and economic development could not be accomplished alone. Local, regional, and state partnerships are key to sustainability and impactful programming efforts. A few of our partners include the United States Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, West Virginia University Extension, West Virginia State, and the Robert C. Byrd Institute.
These partnerships and supportive funding have allowed Eastern's IREED to support agriculture entrepreneurs locally, regionally, and statewide to adopt and drive agricultural innovation. Several practices include the utilization of poultry bio-waste as a method of upcycling byproducts and utilizing precision agriculture technologies such as drone imaging on operations. Eastern's IREED has also led many initiatives including:
- Ag Action Council
- WV AG Showcase and AG Student Challenge
- Workshops and Trainings
- Farm to Table Events
- Business Coaching
Eastern is viewed as one of the leaders in economic development specifically in Agriculture. As a result of the tremendous interest from past programming, Eastern now has a Director of Agriculture, a Potomac Highlands Food Cooperative, an Associate in Business Management with an Emphasis in Agribusiness, Ag Workforce Trainings & Certifications, and timely workshops and programming.
Potomac Highlands Producers
The Potomac Highlands Producers is a co-operative of farmers and producers from the six Potomac Highlands counties of eastern West Virginia, all working together to promote and sell their products to retail, restaurants, institutions, and individuals. The project is being spearheaded by the Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College to strengthen the local farm economy and is funded by a USDA grant. The goals of Potomac Highlands Producers are to grow the local farm economy by providing marketing and advertising of local food, business coaching and support, training on innovative agricultural practices, collective sales of products, and community awareness of the availability of local foods from the Potomac Highlands and where to buy them. The Potomac Highlands Producers Food Co-operative is located at the IREED New Biz Launchpad.