WASHINGTON (WV News) — West Virginia is set to receive more than $518,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The funding was jointly announced Tuesday by U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., both of whom serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bulk of the funding will go to West Virginia University, where it will be used in agricultural research efforts, according to a press release from the senators.

A grant of about $320,000, awarded through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will enable WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture to acquire a combined gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer.

The research this will enable is extensive, multidisciplinary and from different backgrounds including plant science, biochemistry, textile science, entomology, genetics, plant pathology, soil science, environmental microbiology, food science and water science, according to the release.

The remaining funds will be distributed for use in four rural development projects. They are: 

  • $50,000 – Natural Capital (Jefferson County): This will be used to provide business planning, training and financial management to businesses to overcome obstacles and capitalize on consumer demands for local foods. This grant will create 19 jobs and save 12.
  • $50,000 – Region 1 Planning and Development Council (Mercer County): This will be used to locate, photograph, and collect GPS coordinates and create a comprehensive database and operations dashboard to help boost the local economy.
  • $50,000 – Bluefield Economic Development Authority (Mercer County): This will be used to establish a program that would target businesses that would benefit from having assistance with their online presence and competing in the digital arena. The project will assist 25 small businesses, create five jobs and save six jobs.
  • $48,600 – New Vision Renewable Energy (Barbour County): This will be used to provide equipment to three spaces for the Mountaineer Maker Space and Incubator to foster community-based entrepreneurship, support the growth or small businesses and to help with job creation and income generation. The project will create two jobs and save 10.

“Investing in West Virginia’s rural communities is key to the future of our state,” Capito said. “These grants from USDA will bolster entrepreneurship, support small businesses, and increase economic development, with the goal of creating jobs in rural areas across West Virginia. I’m also glad to see West Virginia University’s agriculture and research capacity recognized with an investment that will bring opportunities to more students now and in the future.”

“Supporting West Virginia’s rural communities, bringing jobs to the state and spurring economic growth continues to be some of my top priorities. This funding is great news for the Mountain State and will support West Virginia businesses in rural communities while saving numerous jobs and bringing more to regions across the state, and will fund research and agriculture efforts at West Virginia University. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for funding to support West Virginia rural communities, create jobs and boost our economy,” Manchin said.