WV Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame to honor 2024 inductees at Jackson’s Mill banquet

JACKSON’S MILL – The West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame (WVAFHOF) will honor the 2024 inductees with a banquet on Saturday, July 20, at Jackson’s Mill. The evening will begin with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by a dinner at 6 p.m. The event is open to all who are interested. To purchase tickets, contact Rebecca Williams at (304) 825-6983.

“The people we are honoring this year have contributed so much of their valuable time and effort to the residents of their communities and the State of West Virginia, as a whole,” said WVAFHOF President Jeremy McGill. “Their work and dedication to advancing the science and the practice of agriculture, forestry, and family life, that is integral to supporting those careers, has earned them this prestigious recognition. It is important that we come together and celebrate their achievements.”

The WVAFHOF, chartered in 1974, honors West Virginians who have made significant contributions to the establishment, development, advancement, and improvement of agriculture, forestry, and family life in West Virginia and around the world.

The 2024 inductees are:

Mark Bowers (Petersburg) – Known as “Mr. Maple,” Bowers has been a driving force in expanding maple syrup production and education in West Virginia. He is the founding president of the WV Maple Syrup Producer’s Association and remains an active member.

William ‘Bill’ Coffindaffer (Jane Lew) – Born on a dairy farm in Harrison County, Coffindaffer holds a BS in Dairy Science from WVU and an MS in Agriculture from NC State. He has devoted his life to service through various agencies and boards, impacting communities statewide.

Mark Fitzsimmons (Cameron) – A lifelong resident of northern West Virginia, Fitzsimmons transitioned from dairy farming to teaching, where he influenced many young lives. He also serves as an auctioneer and has been active in the West Virginia Auctioneer’s Association.

Carol Sue Miles, PhD (Morgantown) – With degrees from WVU and Cornell University, Miles has focused on teaching behavior and leadership skills to youth and parents. Her work continues through The Uganda Fund after a notable career in Cooperative Extension.

Ric MacDowell (Charleston) – Originally from Chester, Pennsylvania, MacDowell earned a master’s in education from Grinnell College in Iowa. He has dedicated his life to supporting low-income youth and families in southern West Virginia and has worked on international social justice projects.

John Frederick Kelsey (Southside) – A Michigan native with a physics degree from Michigan State University, Kelsey has contributed to walnut veneer production in West Virginia. He innovated a computer program for optimizing walnut stand growth and has been active in practical agricultural sciences.

Lloyd ‘Rudy’ Williams (Fairmont) – An Eagle Scout with a BS in Forestry from WVU, Williams has had a long career with the WV Division of Forestry, spanning various programs and districts. He also helped found the WV Envirothon Committee, which educates high school students in environmental conservation.

Arthur ‘Art’ Yagel (Summersville) – A Christmas tree farmer and former WV Division of Forestry employee, Yagel pioneered wildfire investigation techniques in the state. He remains involved with the WV Christmas Tree Growers Association and the WV Forestry Association.

The WVAFHOF continues to recognize and celebrate those who significantly impact agriculture and forestry in West Virginia.

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