Kent Leonhardt and his wife of 28 years, Shirley, know what it takes to run a successful agriculture business in West Virginia. The Leonhardt Farm is located in the western end of Monongalia County in Fairview, West Virginia. Kent and Shirley purchased their first 205 acres of West Virginia farmland in 1982, while Kent was still on military active duty. The Leonhardts began developing and cultivating the farm in 1997, following Kent's retirement from the Marine Corps. Today, the Leonhardts have 380 contiguous acres and two farm leases for hay production and additional grazing. They raise sheep, cattle and goats and sell hay when there is a surplus available. In addition, the Leonhardts have had a backyard flock of chickens and have also participated in the Morgantown farmer's market, selling flowers, lettuce greens and tomatoes all locally grown on their farm.
Kent received a formal education in the Science of Agriculture, earning his Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Missouri. In addition, he is educated in a variety of issues pertinent to the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection. Kent's undergraduate education had a concentration on both wildlife and agriculture and included courses in the following disciplines: Livestock and Meat Science, Soil Sciences, Plant Taxonomy, Entomology, Ichthyology or fisheries, Agricultural Economics, Biology and Chemistry.
Kent's real life experience as a successful West Virginia farmer and small businessman, in addition to his degree in Wildlife Management and his post graduate Master's Degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University have prepared him to serve his fellow farmers and citizens as West Virginia's next Commissioner of Agriculture.
As a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps, I coordinated operations between all four branches of our military, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. I entered the U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course, while in college, in 1974. I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant following my college graduation, in 1976. I served for 20 years and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. I received personal decorations during my service including: Legion of Merit, Combat Action Ribbon, 8 other personal decorations. I am ready to serve you again, as your Commissioner of Agriculture.
My leadership positions and joint service experiences have prepared me to work with WV state government and individual farmers as the Commissioner of Agriculture; I have the ability to form cooperative partnerships with government bodies, private organizations and citizens.
• The Basic School – Initial 6 months of USMC Officer training.
• Communications Officer School
• Defense Language Institute – Arabic
• Defense Intelligence College
• USMC Command and Staff College
• Fellowship Year with the Director of the National Security Agency
• Platoon and Company Commands
• Led 68 man special intelligence team in Desert Storm/Desert Shield
• Battalion Executive Officer (number 2 in unit of 450 Marines)
• Various Intelligence Analyst, Watch Officer, Intelligence Collections Officer positions.
• USMC Liaison Officer to the National Security Agency
• Special Intelligence Collection Manager U. S. Central Command.
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