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WVU Extension's Monongalia County agriculture agent working to address community needs

Headshot of Betsy Thomas in a black jacket on a navy blue background

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Agriculture in the Monongalia County area continues to be vital to economic prosperity. West Virginia University Extension’s new agriculture and natural resource agent, Betsy Thomas, believes that the diversity of agriculture and cutting-edge research can help the industry and also spark interest in others to try something new.

“Community needs are different throughout the state. I’m interested in developing programs that not only help generate interest from the community, but also introduce new topics that may be a bit out of the box. I think that will generate interest from our seasoned farmers and growers, but also engage more of our community members in this important sector of our economy,” Thomas said. 

Thomas has a strong desire to give back to the state she calls home and feels this position is a perfect way for her to share her passion and expertise in agriculture. She has been busy meeting people in the community and taking part in events, including her first Mon County Fair and State Fair of West Virginia over the summer. She notes that listening to people and hearing what they are interested in helps her define programs and activities to meet those needs.

One of the topics she already identified from her conversations is food waste. With input from community members and WVU resources in place, Thomas feels this is an area where she can help provide more education and research to address this need. She also is interested in exploring urban agriculture – what it means to our community and how we may be able to use it to address food deserts.

Prior to joining WVU Extension, Thomas was the quality and food safety manager for 80 Acres Farm in Ohio which is a vertical, hydroponic farm where she implemented operation, safety and quality assessment procedures. She also served as the quality assessment manager for Pan American Seed (a Ball Horticultural Company) and a trait development research scientist at Bayer Crop Sciences, both in Illinois.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here in Mon County to serve our community. The first three months have flown by. I can see and feel the community’s excitement and willingness to support our activities,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working with our residents to expand and improve agriculture in our county and around the state.”

Thomas is located at the Monongalia County Extension Office at Mylan Park.

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Tara CurtisDirector of Communications & Marketing

WVU Extension