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Leonhardt: Agriculture Commissioner deserves your vote

Since he took office as commissioner of agriculture in January 2017, Kent Leonhardt has worked hard to expand the role of farming in West Virginia’s future. He has gotten results from numerous initiatives.

Keeping Leonhardt at his post is important not just to the Mountain State’s agriculture community, but to all West Virginians. A first step toward that is ensuring he wins the Republican Party nomination for commissioner in the June 9 primary election.

Retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marines, Leonhardt and his wife, Shirley, raised cattle, sheep and goats on a 380-acre farm in Monongalia County. He understands both the opportunities and challenges facing the agriculture industry.

As commissioner, he has addressed the challenges by making the agriculture regulatory burden lighter.

Capitalizing on opportunities is Leonhardt’s specialty. When he took office, there were just eight producers of industrial hemp in our state. Now, there are 150. Leonhardt also is working to boost “agritourism,” one of the fastest growing sources of farm income in the nation.

We endorse Leonhardt for agriculture commissioner — and encourage West Virginians casting Republican ballots to vote for him in the June 9 primary election.

In many other ways, small and large, he is increasing the role agriculture plays here, and that will benefit not just farmers, but all of us in the Mountain State.

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