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

The inductees were honored by Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt during a reception at the state fair last Sunday morning.

From raising cattle and poultry to running a greenhouse and mentoring students in 4-H and FFA, these women are outstanding in their fields.

“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 5 women have had a tremendous impact on our state’s agricultural sector, as well as helped inspire the next generation of farmers.”

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture began honoring Women in Agriculture in 2010. Since then 51 women, including this year’s honorees, have been recognized for their significant contributions to the agriculture industry.

Betty Bosley, Hardy County

Elizabeth “Betty” Bosley spent her childhood on Buena Vista Farm. The farm itself was constructed in the 1800s and boasted West Virginia’s largest barn.

In her early years, Betty was a true farm girl helping on the family farm. “Corn, cattle and kids” was the farm’s logo. She participated in 4-H showing cattle and taking agriculture/home economics projects.

After attending college, she raised 2 daughters while teaching for over 40 years in the Hardy County school system.

In 1980, Betty and husband started their own farm. It grew into a poultry production business, with 2 large poultry houses. They have won “West Virginia Pullet Producers of the Year.” Now owning over 50-plus acres, they are raising purebred registered Simmental and Simental/Angus cross cattle. Betty has a keen eye for beautiful, high producing stock.

Betty has not only grown her own family farm into a purebred cattle and poultry production business, she continues to show others how to learn from the bottom up and the ins and outs of running a farm. She is passionate in her love of agriculture. She and her husband live in Hardy County and are the grandparents of 4.

Lois Carr, Pendleton County

Lois Kisamore Carr is a 3rd-generation farmer in Pendleton County. Her grandparents purchased the farm in 1906, and it has remained in the family. Lois began farming with her dad in the late ’60s and continued after she married. When her parents passed away,

Lois and her husband, Roy Carr, were able to purchase the family farm. It consists of 180 acres and an additional 310 acres of pasture land, rented for cattle and sheep to graze.

Penny Gritt Goff, Putnam County

Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse was established in 1944 by 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.

She learned from both her grandfather and father about the greenhouse business and further enhanced her training by studying ornamental horticulture at Ohio State University. Penny is now the owner and General Manager of Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse.

Carol Taylor, Grant County

Carol 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. Cottage Hill Farm is home to a registered polled Hereford operation nestled in the South Branch Valley around Petersburg. The farm runs approximately 200 head of Hereford cows on 1,000 acres.

The farm is family owned and operated by Carole and her husband along with their three sons and their families. Carol treks the hills of the operation daily checking for new babies during calving season. Her role is making sure everyone has what they need to carry out their part in the operation.

JoAnn Watterson, Mason County

JoAnn Watterson was a true pioneer for women in agriculture and helped pave the way for other young women to become established in agriculture related industries. 

She was heavily involved in the local Holstein-Friesian Association, the Dairy Herd Improvement Association and the Mason County Fair.

In 1960, JoAnn’s father died leaving her and her mother the nearly 2,000-acre, Kanawha River Valley farm. JoAnn was 18 years old at the time and by the next year, she started managing the operation. 

JoAnn died on July 19, 2018, but she left a legacy for other young women to follow. 

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