Gov. Justice signs bill allocating $50 million for new agriculture lab at West Virginia State University

INSTITUTE, WV — Gov. Justice today ceremonially signed Senate Bill 1003, which allocates $50 million to construct a new state-of-the-art agricultural laboratory at West Virginia State University. 

The cutting-edge facility will house laboratory space for both West Virginia State University and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. It will provide valuable laboratory and classroom space for WVSU faculty and students and play an important role in creating a new School of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources at WVSU.

“Agriculture is a core piece of our state’s history,” Gov. Justice said. “The immense need for a state-of-the-art agricultural lab is something I discussed during my State of the State Address. I’m glad to see this project finally get across the finish line, and I cannot think of a better home than West Virginia State University. I thank the West Virginia Legislature for agreeing on the importance of this project. We all know this is something that will create a huge impact for the agricultural industry and community in the Mountain State for generations to come.”

“This is truly a milestone day in the history of West Virginia State University, and we are grateful to Governor Jim Justice, Senate President Craig Blair, and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw for their vision and dedication in bringing this state-of-the-art agriculture research laboratory to fruition,” said WVSU President Ericke S. Cage. “West Virginia’s economy is in a strong position for growth in the agricultural fields and WVSU stands ready to help meet the growing demand for a skilled workforce in these areas.”
West Virginia State University is the only land-grant school in the country without a School of Agriculture. The laboratory will build on WVSU’s expansive agricultural research portfolio and provide students with experiential learning opportunities as they can engage in hands-on research projects.

Gov. Justice first announced the project during his January 2024 State of the State Address and the West Virginia Legislature passed it during the most recent special session.

“This is a proud day, and it’s an exciting day for all West Virginians,” House Speaker Roger Hanshaw said. “This new facility will strengthen the WVSU mission to provide support for the state’s agriculture community as a land-grant university. Both Governor Justice and President Cage have big visions, and it’s no exaggeration to say this state-of-the-art facility will have a positive effect on every single person in this state, as we know a country’s food supply is one of the two ways it provides a safe and free economy. Excellent agricultural research is already taking place at WVSU, as well as a strong partnership with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, and I’m especially proud that in 2023 the Legislature corrected years of inadequate funding for our 1890 land-grant institution to ensure it will always be able to pull down matching funds to continue its robust transformation and growth.”

“I’m proud to be with Governor Justice today as he signs the bill that will enable us to build a new, state-of-the-art lab facility for our Department of Agriculture at West Virginia State University,” Senate President Craig Blair said. “West Virginians rely on so many critical functions of our ag labs – from food safety to biosecurity – and this new facility will ensure their scientists have the best tools available to continue those jobs. Locating this new lab at West Virginia State will provide a tremendous training ground for students and provide a pipeline of well-trained technicians who can move right into these jobs after graduation.”

About West Virginia State University
West Virginia State University is a public, land-grant, historically black university that has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the state and region’s higher education and economic development needs through innovative teaching and applied research.