West Virginia agriculture commissioner candidates argue over potato program

Sen. Kent Leonhardt, R-Monongalia, says the West Virginia Department of Agriculture has no business being in the potato business. Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick says potatoes could become a major cash crop in West Virginia — with a nudge from the state. Leonhardt and Helmick, who are in heated race for the commissioner’s job, sparred Thursday over the state-funded potato-growing program — called the Potato Demonstration Project. “We’re barking up the wrong tree here,” Leonhardt said during a meeting with Gazette-Mail editors. More