9-13-13 Schools seen as big market for farm products

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KINGWOOD, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia officials are promoting schools as a lucrative market for the state’s farmers.

State agriculture and education officials plan to start a statewide Farm to School initiative at a luncheon Friday at Preston High School. Cafeteria lunches will include “West Virginia Grown” hamburger, broccoli, potatoes and hamburger buns made from locally grown and ground wheat.

The school plans to have West Virginia-grown items on the menu every day in the school year.

Agriculture officials are working with local farmers to produce cold-weather crops and to ensure adequate meat production to meet school needs.

Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick says farmers have an untapped market in county school systems.

Those school systems spend about $100 million each year feeding students. Most of that is spent on goods produced outside West Virginia.

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