Mingo County Redevelopment Authority (MCRA) Director Steve Kominar announced on Thursday that the state has selected Mingo County as one of the two locations for a hog farm.
“Since the day Agricultural Commissioner Walt Helmick was elected we have worked with him for agriculture projects in Mingo County,” Kominar said. “Commissioner Helmick is very knowledgeable about our county and the Redevelopment Authority.”
Kominar made the announcement at the MCRA regular meeting to his board members. The ranch would be a 500-head hog farm which would help feed the inmates at the state prisons.
There will be one facility in the northern part of the state and one in the southern part. Mingo County has been chosen as the site for the southern part of West Virginia. It will be built at no cost to the MCRA or the county.
The MCRA board of directors talked about possible sites the hog farm could be located. While this is still in the preliminary stages the Department of Agriculture is touring other sites throughout the east coast to discover the best state of the art facilities to be built in West Virginia, Kominar added.
“This will be a state supported facility. The process will offer new job opportunities and skills for our local residents,” Kominar stated.
He mentioned the need for job diversification, especially with mining jobs dwindling in Appalachia.
“Currently we are working with the Commissioner and Consol Energy on the pre-mining permit process on 200 acres to be used for agriculture site once mining is completed,” Kominar added.
Kominar has also talked to the state about hemp farms. The climate in this region is perfect for the hemp plant. Although it is a relative of the marijuana family, hemp has no THC value.
Hemp is grown in other countries and is sold for such uses as refined products like hemp seed foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper, and fuel.
This is only in the early stages, but with all of the post-mine land on the mountain tops in Mingo County, this could become a huge cash crop.
“Jointly we believe agriculture could be a great industry for Mingo County and our post-mine land,” Kominar concluded.