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Monongalia County farmer in 2017 ‘Outstanding Women in Agriculture’


The State Journal

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County resident and farmer Pamela Yost was honored at the State Fair of West Virginia by the state Department of Agriculture as one of four Outstanding Women in Agriculture for 2017.

Pamela Yost walks her horse, Lena, from the barn at Pleasant Valley Farm in Monongalia County.
(Submitted photo)

Yost is the fourth generation to farm on her family’s property, Pleasant Valley Farm — 160 acres in the northern most portion of the county. Although surprised and humbled to be recognized, Yost that while growing up, she never considered being a female farmer noteworthy.

“I never thought about women not being in agriculture,” she said. “My mom and grandmother were always part of the farm. The duties—those were things everyone did. I never separated men and women in agriculture. My mom and grandmother worked as hard as anybody.”

She and her brother both built homes on the acreage, and along with her parents, tending the farm is a family affair.

Growing up on the farm and raising her two sons there has been a mix of hard work and great experiences for Yost.

“As soon as I was old enough to talk my parents into getting me a pony, I had one,” she said. “When I was growing up and when my sons were growing up, if you wanted to build a campfire in the backyard, you could do that. We have a pond, so you can fish anytime you like. I think I probably didn’t appreciate the benefits of growing up on a farm until I became an adult.”

Now, on Pleasant Valley Farm, Yost and her family keep horses and backyard poultry and raise Charolais cattle, a breed that is unusual in the state. They also have an orchard and vegetable gardens. Yost gives the surplus from the orchard and gardens to the local food pantry.

Yost holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resources and a master’s degree in agriculture economics both from West Virginia University, and she has worked as a watershed economist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service for 27 years. She said she likes her day job, but she loves coming home to her farm.

“When I get home from work, I want to go outside and do something in the pasture or yard where it’s you and the animals,” she said. “Whether it’s cleaning stalls or fixing a gate, you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished, and it gives you a sense of satisfaction.”

Yost serves as a board member, treasurer and public information chair with the Monongalia County Farm Bureau. Among other activities, she is also member of the Monongalia County Fair Board and member of the FFA Advisory Committee for University High School.

“I think today’s kids are smart,” she said. “They can do a lot of things I don’t know how to, such as using social media to talk about their farming. Agriculture is an important part of society. It’s important for people to know where their food comes from, and it’s important for people in farming to explain that.”

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture began honoring Women in Agriculture in 2010. Since then 42 women have been recognized for their significant contributions to the agriculture industry.

“Now more than ever, women are pursuing opportunities in agriculture at a higher rate than their male counterparts,” Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said in a news release. “Women are strongly leading in many emerging agricultural fields. This is a chance to honor their hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation.”

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