Commissioner of Agriculture, Kent Leonhardt Speaks to ALMBS Citizens

For Kent, farming and agriculture aren’t just hobbies, they’re at the core of who he is. Kent is a long-time farmer – even taking a once-abandoned farm back into production with his wife Shirley. Prior to taking office, he raised cattle, goats, and sheep on their 380-acre farm near Fairview in Monongalia County, West Virginia.

Kent’s life has always been about service above self. Kent served as a United States Marine for over 20 years, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. As a Marine, Kent received numerous decorations including the Legion of Merit, Combat Action Ribbon, and eight other personal decorations.

After retiring from service and bringing his farm into full production, Kent sought other ways to serve and was elected a West Virginia State Senator from the secondSenate district. As senator, Kent quickly gained a reputation as a strong advocate for a business-friendly environment to foster economic growth in the Mountain State.

As Agriculture Commissioner, Kent has been able to combine his passion for cultivating West Virginia soil with his passion for serving the great citizens of West Virginia. Since becoming commissioner, Kent has successfully fought to limit regulations on small farming businesses, inspire innovative approaches to bringing West Virginia products to market in West Virginia and across the United States, and expand opportunities for agritourism within the Mountain State. Kent also shares his passion for farming with the next generation of West Virginia's farmers through active involvement in Future Farmers of America (FFA), and 4-H all across West Virginia.

Kent received his bachelor's degree in Wildlife Management at the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University. He continued his education by attending seminars and conferences covering issues pertinent to the Division of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection in order to better serve the State of West Virginia. Kent has also served as a member of the Monongalia County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and as a member of the Monongalia County Livestock Association.

Kent and his wife Shirley live on their farm in western Monongalia County. They have three sons and six grandchildren.

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