More than 100 farmers are expected to lose their lands in Ashland, Virginia, after state authorities shut down the state’s first-ever public forest and other lands for restoration after the death of a worker.
The state’s Office of Farm and Rural Affairs has canceled all farm operations and closed about two dozen grazing, hay and fruit and vegetable fields, according to a statement on its website.
The statement does not say what is causing the closure.
The announcement was made at a news conference on Thursday morning, but a spokesman for the agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for Gov.
Earl Ray Tomblin said the state will not reopen any of the state-owned lands, including those used to farm cattle and dairy cows.
The lands were closed in November because of the drought, he said.
A spokesperson for the Agriculture Department said that because the closure was in effect, the agency would not comment further.