CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Agriculture is turning over a new leaf in West Virginia. The Future Farmers of America announced its first all-female state officer team.
For centuries, farming and agriculture were for males only, but now women are plowing their way through the business.
“Females weren’t allowed in FFA until 1969 so this is like decades in the making and it’s just incredible to be a part of this,” Kaitlyn Luitkart, Future Farmers of America Vice President At-Large said.
Since 1969, more women have started getting into the Future Farmers of America organization.
“35% of farms in West Virginia are run by women now, and that number is growing. That’s following the same national trend. So, to see all these women become officers at FFA is really a momentous occasion,” Kent Leonhardt, Commissioner of Agriculture
Leonhardt says one reason the gender roles are increasing is to make sure people are getting high-quality food items and living healthier lifestyles – not only in the Mountain State – but across the nation.
“They want their families to be healthy. We know that food that is grown locally is healthier because it hasn’t traveled as far. The nutrients are still there and less chance of spoilage, less chance of contamination,” Leonhardt said.
FFA State President Gabby Wolfe says she wants people to know, the organization is for anyone with a love of the business.
“My agricultural pursuits involve working in a slaughterhouse. So, for me being on the state’s first all-female team and not being farmer-bred, I’m really hoping to take that out into the world and encourage people that didn’t grow up on farms,” Wolfe said.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory, and consumer protection programs.