Five chosen as West Virginia Women in Agriculture

CHARLESTON — Five women have been chosen as 2019 West Virginia Women in Agriculture for their lifetime of work in the industry.

The inductees will be honored Monday by Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt during a reception at the state fair.

“Women now make up 38 percent of our state’s farmers,” Leonhardt said. “As more women consider agricultural careers, a lot of thanks is due to those who paved the way. These five women have had a tremendous impact on our state’s agricultural sector, as well as helped inspire the next generation of farmers.”

The Department of Agriculture began honoring Women in Agriculture in 2010. Fifty-one women have been recognized for their significant contributions to the agriculture industry.

This year’s honorees are Betty Bosley of Hardy County, Lois Carr of Pendleton County, Penny Gritt Goff of Putnam County, Carol Taylor of Grant County and the late JoAnn Watterson of Mason County

Bosley spent her childhood on Buena Vista Farm, which was constructed in the 1800s and has West Virginia’s largest barn. In her early years, Bosley participated in 4-H showing cattle and taking agriculture/home economics projects. After attending college, she raised two daughters while teaching for over 40 years in the Hardy County School system.

Carr is a third-generation farmer in Pendleton County. Her grandparents purchased the farm in 1906 and it has remained in the family.

Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse was established in 1944 by founder Tony Gritt Jr., who peddled his fresh produce in Charleston. Three generations of Gritts have since contributed to expanding the enterprise including Penny Gritt Goff.

Taylor did not come from a farming background, but married a farmer at the age of 22. She learned the ins and outs of a working farm while working closely with her family.

Watterson, who died in 2018, was a pioneer in agriculture and helped pave the way for other young women to become established in agriculture-related industries. She was involved in the local Holstein-Friesian Association, the Dairy Herd Improvement Association and the Mason County Fair.