West Virginia Is Closing Crop Aggregation Facility

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture has decided to close the state’s first crop aggregation facility after determining that it was barely used and losing money.

The Herald-Dispatch reports the department’s new administration will not renew a lease for the Huntington Aggregation Center.

Department spokesman Cresent Gallagher says an audit of the department’s farm account found that the facility accounted for over $1 million of an over $2.8 million loss from the previous five years.

Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt has said he was unsure if the program was the best use of tax dollars.

Leonhardt’s predecessor, Walt Helmick, opened the center in 2016. At the time, he said the facility would help small farmers reach a larger customer base, and leverage existing agricultural resources to diversify the state’s economy.