Secretary of State, Natalie Tennant (left) and Gilmer-
Calhoun County FSA Executive Director, Melodie Bailey

The first Gilmer County "Women In Ag Day" was held in conjunction with the Gilmer County Farm Show on September 6th. The event was organized by Gilmer-Calhoun Counties Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director, Melodie Bailey, and Program Technician, Rudeen Sealey. Last year Melodie and Rudeen worked with WVU Extension Agent Brandy Brabham to organize and hold the same type event for the first time in Calhoun County.

Melodie has been organizing "Women In Ag" Day events since 2004, with the first being held in Nicholas County where she was employed as a Program Technician. "I would like to see this become an annual event", stated Bailey, "alternating locations between Gilmer and Calhoun Counties".

Speakers at this year's event included Secretary of State, Natalie Tennant; FSA State Executive Director, Alfred Lewis; FSA State Committee Chairperson, Marge Burke; Natural Resource Conservation Service District Conservationist, Andy Sentz; Master Gardener, Cliff Thrasher; Kanawha Drive Community Education Outreach Service President, Carolyn Cusick; WV Farm Bureau Director of Public Relations; Joan Harman; Agribility Program Director, Inetta Fluharty; and Women on Wellness Program Coordinator, Janine Breyel.

Although attendance at the event was lower than hoped for, the quality of the program was not diminished. As Marge Burke stated during her presentation, "It's not the quantity but the quality". Guest speakers provided a lot of valuable information to participants that ranged from available government cost-share programs for local farmers to farm safety.

Melodie and Rudeen would like to thank not only guest speakers but those that took the time to attend the event. They would also like to say a special thank you to Gary Bush for his assistance and the Gilmer County Farm Bureau for providing refreshments.

If you were unable to attend the event and you own or operate a farm and would like more information on what programs are available through federal and state agencies, the Farm Service Agency is a good place to go to get you started. You can call the Gilmer-Calhoun FSA Office at 304-462-7171 or stop by the office located in the Glenville Post Office Building at 201 E. Main Street, Room 122.

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