West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame Enshrines Eight in Class of 2023

Pictured from left to right, seated: Michelle Miller, James (Jim) Foster, Arthur Mouser; standing: Bill Crawford, Martha Snyder, Mindy Double, Dr. Jewell Plumley, Howard (Larry) Six, Dr. Joseph (Joe) McNeel. (Not pictured: Anna Mouser.) *On behalf of Jim and Enid Crawford

First formed in 1974, The West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame is an incorporated, independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation, devoted to honoring those West Virginians who have made outstanding contributions to the “establishment, development, advancement, or improvement” of the agricultural and forestry industries in West Virginia and the nation. On July 22, 2023, we welcomed eight individuals as enshrinees at our 49th annual banquet at historic Jackson’s Mill, four from Agriculture and four from Forestry. May I present to you the class of 2023:

Art Mouser with AFHF President Jeremy McGIll. (Not pictured: Anna Mouser.)

Arthur and Anna Mouser
Preston County, WV

Arthur and Anna Mouser were one of the first farms to bring the Charolais breed of cattle into West Virginia and have been instrumental in promoting the breed and the bloodline within the state. Their efforts have netted them many awards, ribbons, and banners over the years, such as the Grand Champion Female at the State Fair of West Virginia in 2017, the West Virginia Association of Conservation District’s Carrol Greene Award, and the Monongahela Conservation District’s Luther Britton Award. They have also been active in many local and national organizations such as the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts, the Monongahela Conservation District, West Virginia Envirothon, 4-H, Conservation Farm Recognition program, the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts Auxiliary, and the Preston County Farmland Protection board, among others.

Jim Foster and Jeremy McGill.

James “Jim” Foster
Doddridge County, WV

Though not a native West Virginian, his service in the U.S. Air Force brought him to the state as a young man, and in time, he chose a farm in the hills of Doddridge County to put down roots with his wife Earlene. Jim has dedicated himself to becoming a leader in agriculture through such organizations as the Doddridge County Farm Bureau, WVU Extension Service, the West Fork Conservation District, and the Farm Service Agency. He has served as a Chaplain to the National Grange. He is a founding member of both the Appalachian Grazing Conference and the West Virginia Envirothon Committee. He was also named the 2006 Grassland Farmer of the Year, 2006 Conservation Supervisor of the Year, and 2003 National Grange Family of the Year.

Jeremy McGill and Dr. Jewell Plumley.

Jewell Plumley, DVM
Hardy County, WV

Dr. Jewell Plumley has spent nearly her entire career advancing the field of veterinary medicine in West Virginia. She is the first woman to be appointed State Veterinarian and Director of WVDA’s Animal Health Division, and one of only six women veterinarians overseeing a state Animal Health department in the entire country. She has also been active in 4-H and FFA, mentoring and instructing our youth. She is a 4-H All Star, a recipient of the 2018 Women in Agriculture Award, 30-Year WVDA Governor’s Service Award, and the USDA Excellence Award for her response to Avian Influenza.

WV Ag Commissioner Kent Leonhardt, Michelle Miller, Bill Crawford, Martha Snyder, Mindy Double, and Jeremy McGill.

Jim and Enid Crawford
Marion County, WV
Though Jim and Enid are no longer with us, their farm in Marion County was more than just a farm. It was an example of their commitment to forest management in the state of West Virginia. In 1963, they were only the second farm to join the Tree Farm Program in Marion County and were heavily involved in many of the conservation organizations and local institutions. Over the years, their management practices were studied by local and international scientists alike, with professionals coming from as far as England and France to observe their activities. Among their many awards, they received the Tree Farm of the Year Award—not just once, but twice—in 1971 and 2000, and went on to represent the Northeast Region of the U.S. at the 2001 National Outstanding Tree Farm Ceremony.

Dr. Joseph McNeel and Jeremy McGill.

Joseph McNeel, PHD
Greene County, PA
Dr. Joseph McNeel, longtime resident and native son of West Virginia, started his forestry journey at WVU with a B.S. in Forest Management and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Forest Operations from Virginia Tech. During his tenure, he has been a tireless supporter of the West Virginia Forest Industry, and mentor to thousands of young students as the Director of WVU’s Division of Forestry and Natural Resources. He now serves as the Director of the Appalachian Hardwood Center at WVU. His research contributions are numerous and include the 2018 Outstanding Alumnus for the WVU Division of Forestry and Natural Resources Association, member of the National Forestry Research Advisory Council from 2005–2008, and Extension Chair of the National Association of University Forest Resources Programs from 2006–2010.

Jeremy McGill and Howard (Larry) Six.

Howard ‘Larry’ Six
Mason County, WV
A native West Virginian, Larry Six’s forestry dream began while he was still in high school in Cairo, West Virginia, when his ninth grade Civics teacher asked her class to write a paper on potential careers. He never looked back, becoming the first in his family to attend college—first at Glenville State, and then at WVU for a B.S. in Forestry. He has worked a quiet life of service with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, serving the citizens of the State with dignity and honor for almost 50 years and counting. His loyal service has led to several awards over the years, including the Bronze Hardhat Award for number of tree farms nominated—four of which were awarded the West Virginia Tree Farmer of the Year in 1992, 1994, 1996, and 2020.

I hope you all will join with us in recognizing the outstanding achievements and contributions these individuals have made to the Agriculture and Forestry Community over the years. They truly have gone above and beyond in their respective fields and they all deserve a little thanks and gratitude for their efforts.

Don’t forget nominations for the next class will be available in February of 2024, so if you know any individuals you think are worthy of being enshrined, keep an eye out. If you have any other questions about the AFHF, please contact Becky Williams, Secretary, by email at rebecca.j.williams@wv.gov.