The Farmer Veteran Coalition is a national program dedicated to helping mobilize veterans on a national level to increase their awareness of agriculture and to help them break into the agricultural industry. The FVC wants to help prepare the next generation of agriculturalists through interactions between communities and veterans. They believe that food production and its benefits can help veterans on a physical and psychological level.
Returning Veterans to Agriculture is a national program that focuses on gathering and communicating resources about agricultural careers to veterans. It has information on national programs such as the Farm Bill, the FVC, Beginning Farmers, etc. that can help educate veterans on opportunities available to them.
Since many veterans are looking for ways to provide for themselves and their families and address the physical, mental, and emotional scars of war, Beginning Farmers is trying to help them find a new calling. The Beginning Farmer program focuses on the financial and business aspect of veterans going into farming or agricultural industry. It also helps find internships and jobs while discussing basic management and economics. They list different types of farming that veterans can become involved in and list several ways that veterans can receive the training necessary to become involved in agriculture.
The USDA or United States Department of Agriculture is the national website where farmers and those in the agricultural industry can go to learn more about national issues related to agriculture and the different branches and aspects that go into farming. This particular website focuses on information about the federal government and regulations for individuals that are just starting to get into farming plus where a new farmer can receive financial aid via the Farm Bill. It is also a gateway for links to different departments in the USDA that can help veterans and beginner farmers start their farms.
The Veterans Urban Farming Project is dedicated to a two goals: enabling female and male veterans with the ability to derive the full range of financial benefits from self-sufficiency and to overcome the emotional, mental, and physical scars of war while transitioning back to civilian life.
Cornell University recently received a three year grant through the USDA. This will allow their Small Farms Program to reach out and help veterans and advanced beginning farmers. Since 2009, Cornell has operated the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project which delivers mentoring, information resources, and training to beginning farmers and service providers who support new farm viability. Their overall goal is to ensure access to resources, education, and supportive networks to all who are interested in farming in the Northeast.
Created by an Air Force veteran on Blue Yonder Organic Farm; they offer training programs for veterans interested in sustainable agriculture: "Sustainable farming can play a unique role in the recovery of the physical, spiritual, and psychological wounds from war. As military Veterans, we have a new mission: to serve our country through sustainable food production!"
Archi's Arcres was created in 2006 by a former combat Marine and his entrepreneurial wife with just two objectives in mind. They wanted to develop a business that would provide business ownership opportunity for veterans and to create a viable sustainable organic produce farm business. Their specialized program for veterans or Veteran's Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) is an agriculture entrepreneurial incubator that takes students from seed to market. It has a variety of different options when it comes to training. They offer a six week full time course and a fourteen week night and weekend course. The courses teach hydroponics, greenhouse management, irrigation, organic farming, and business planning. Participants receive a certificate of completion from Cal Poly, follow-up with former teachers, resume building, understanding in a farm loan program, and they learn more about the farm ownership/management process.
Veterans Farm is a national program that helps veterans reestablish themselves back into civilian life through the use of the Beginner Farmer Fellowship Program. Veterans work as a team in a relaxed, open environment to overcome mental and physical barriers that they may possess. They learn how to start their own farms or work on larger ones. The goal is to help fill the gap that's retiring farmers are leaving in American agriculture.
The Veterans to Farmers program focuses on providing veterans of mainly the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts with pride, education, and fulfillment through a permanent source of sustainable income, community, and contribution. In 2009, it was started by a Marine who recognized a growing need to help veterans. There is a 10,000 sq. ft. training center in Denver, Colorado that provides a physical location to train veterans in aeroponics and hydroponics, different growing techniques, maintenance/construction, and business ownership. The food grown there is sold directly to the consumer through a CSA model.
Growing Veterans helps veterans learn the trade of agriculture through hands-on participation. They help with the transition from military to civilian life while working with other partners to provide resources to veterans including employment, volunteering, internships, and fellowships. They are not limited to the farm but focus on community outreach as well.
Growing Warriors is a national program that helps teach veterans and communities to grow and preserve their own food while partnering with local organizations to create hands-on curriculum to veterans and their families in a community garden setting. This allows for more personal interaction between the communities and veterans and allows veterans to adjust back into civilian life.
Warriors and Veterans in Agriculture is another program where veterans work with other fellow veterans to learn about agricultural practices and to help them learn how to harvest crops for food. They help identify veterans, market farm products, build the brand, seek property, cooperate with the VA, work in rehabilitation sites, and help create long-term growth environments for veterans.
Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture has a three-fold plan to help better veterans lives and develop professional skills in agriculture. The Veteran Farmer Reserve Program is for veterans interested in exploring agriculture without committing to a full-time training program. This 10-month program will meet one weekend a month, one week during planting, and one week during harvest. The Veteran Farm Fellowship Program will be a two-year, on-farm training program. Up to five Veteran Farm Fellows will be paid to study and work full time at Arcadia Farm for one year, and will participate in all aspects of Arcadia's farm including food access and distribution, sourcing, working with local chefs and retailers, and farm and nutrition education. Arcadia is also developing a small incubator farm with shared equipment at Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria that is expected to be open in 2017-2018 to Veteran Farm Fellows.
This resource guide is published by the Farmer Veteran Coalition and provides veterans with a multitude of things. It helps them understand small business association(s), farm credit, USDA Farm Services Agency, and funding. It also describes the mission of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, describes different internships available, jobs, workshops, conferences, advocacy, and farm support. It describes how to use the GI Bill, what technical schools/educational opportunities exist, different training opportunities, hands-on training, marketing, finding land funding (how-to resources), business planning, legal planning, marketing, crop planning, and farm organizations. All of these things are important for beginning farmers and veterans to know and be aware of as they start their own businesses.
The USDA published a guide for veterans that gives information about finances, marketing, learning, community outreach, family services, and student programs. It also has resources available to veterans who are interested in returning or starting careers in agriculture or related fields. It discusses different jobs in agriculture, different skills necessary for certain fields, gives contact information if veterans have questions, and also has resources for veterans with disabilities who are interested in agriculture as well.
Farm Bureau and the Farmer Veteran Coalition have partnered to create a resource guide for veterans. This resource guide recognizes that veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have become the latest group of veterans in need of employment and may be the most likely to enter the agricultural field. It recognizes difficulty finding long-term employment and has additional resources for veterans to get started. It also lists specific contacts within local and state Farm Bureau's. The guide helps create a plan to align the Young Farmers' and Ranchers' program with the needs of young and more established veterans, networking, contact with military bases and liaison's, create volunteer information and opportunities, and different leadership opportunities. Farm Bureau also wants to help fund outstanding veterans, encourage local and state Farm Bureau chapters to reach out and help vets, and ask for congressional support all while working in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
The VSO Directory, or Veterans and Military Service Organizations Directory, is a guide that lists all of the congressionally chartered and other Veterans Service Organizations recognized by the VA along with those chartered that are NOT recognized by the VA. It also lists the other different organizations that are not congressionally chartered or recognized by the VA but represent the interest of American Veterans. The directory is divided into seven different parts that cover the chartered and not chartered organizations and other key contact information for veterans.
For Veterans Day 2014, the Christian Science Monitor published a list of 21 different programs that focus on helping veterans through farming and agriculture. The webpage gives a brief summary of each program. Some programs are more training programs while others helps veterans find resources that are available to them.
State2Farm is a database for beginning farmers and ranchers that lists different resources and programs available. The program is led by a partnership with the National Agricultural Library and the American Farm Bureau Federation. Start2Farm is funded through a USDA and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, commonly called the Farm Bill, makes landmark strides in the 2014 Farm Bill by creating economic opportunities for veterans in agriculture. Veteran Farmers have now been recognized as a distinct class of farmer and their definition is similar to that of a beginner farmer or rancher with the exception that they have had to have prior military service. The Bill focuses on a variety of different areas that are common and important to farmers and the future of agriculture. These areas are focused on and divided into categories including commodities, safety, management, disaster relief, conservation, trade, credit (focus on Beginner Farmers), rural development, research, forestry, energy, specialty crops and horticulture, crop insurance, and other miscellaneous items related to agriculture. The Credit section is the portion of the Bill that focuses on beginning farmers and provides them with the financial means to start their own farm. This is where veterans can learn more about the financial aspect of farming and how the federal government has set aside or allocated a certain amount of money for beginning farmers.
Since the 1930's, conservation has been a key to the survival and success of American agriculture. The NRCS or Natural Resources Conservation Service is part of the USDA or United States Department of Agriculture and focuses on the conservation aspect of agriculture. It helps with financial assistance, easements, and partnerships for eligible veteran farmers or ranchers who are interested in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). To be eligible, the candidate must meet the definition of Beginning Farmer Rancher (2014 Farm Bill), have not operated a farm or ranch for ten consecutive years, and must have been honorably discharged from the military.
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service administers programs that create domestic and international marketing opportunities for food, fiber, and specialty crop producers here in the U.S. It also provides the agricultural industry with valuable services to ensure availability and quality of wholesome foods for consumers across the United States. This agency was founded by Henry Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture, in 1939.
The FVC Fellowship Fund or Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund is a staff of professionals that continually review, update, and add to programming based on needs of Farmer Veteran members. They line up donors to help the Farmer Veteran Coalition and veteran farmers. Along with lining up donors, the staff organizes information about financial opportunities, career advancement, and other support services.
The Farm Service Agency or FSA is a part of the USDA and has a long standing tradition of helping farmers, ranchers, and other people in the agricultural industry through delivering effective and efficient programs across the nation. They specialize in explaining the Farm Bill by using fact sheets that help with application process and they also encourage understanding and knowledge between farmers and communities. The FSA and its resources help with understanding other government agencies and keeps farmers and the public informed of different agriculture related topics and problems or challenges.
Farm Credit Services is a national agribusiness that offers loans, leases, and financial services to farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses and helps fund agriculturally related endeavors, insurance, and education. It is nationwide network of borrowers and lenders.
Land link is a retired program but there are new options for farmers that are based on the retired program. There are financing options, land matching programs, networked searches, farm incubators and shared lands, and work-in agreements. It helps new farmers learn more about land and financing possibilities, small business planning and loans, incorporates community development, and helps educate veterans about different national issues. The program also finds educational opportunities and individual consultations with professionals for financial and production advices. It has a helpline for phone or email inquiries, support, and resources. It also lists some partner organizations. The new program will be called the Hank Rohling Land Legacy Program when it is fully operational.
The International Farm Transition Network supports programs that foster the next generation of farmers and ranchers. It is responding to the challenges in farm entry such as strategies, farm succession, and retirement strategies. The Network realizes that by helping young people begin in an agriculturally related field that they will be helping to address the government's rural development effort.
The SBA was created in 1953 to aid, counsel, assist, and protect the interests of small business owners. It also was created to preserve free competitive enterprise and to strengthen and maintain the overall economy of the nation. Their main goal still remains the same and that is to help Americans start, build, and grow businesses.
USDA Rural Development was created to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. They offer loans and grants to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder equipment and services, and help with rural America's water, electric, and communication infrastructure.
The new GI Bill is focused on post 9/11 veterans (Iraqi and Afghanistan). It is the largest investment in veterans' education since WWII and it covers the full cost of an undergraduate education at any public university and many private universities for our nation's newest veterans. The new bill keeps and fulfills the WWII promise for veterans to take advantage of America's opportunities and lists the benefit amount that can be awarded to veterans for taking certain months of education. It lists who and how a veteran can apply for benefits.
The Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots program was established out of the University of Nebraska-Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. The program is designed to assist eligible military personnel, their families, and veterans to become farmers, ranchers, and business entrepreneurs. It utilizes both federal and local agencies to fund the program. By utilizing these different agencies, it hopes to create business succession plans that match with farmers, business owners, and ranchers that are already established in the industry.
The NCAT or National Center for Appropriate Technology has created a program for veterans that they call Armed to Farm. The program focuses on sustainable agricultural training for military veterans and has reliable information on sustainable and organic agriculture. Starting farmers have the ability to qualify for government programs with the help of the NCAT. The NCAT's goals are to train veterans and their partners to operate sustainable crop and livestock enterprises, create a network for veterans and their families who are starter farmers, and provide technical assistance to participants. Training ranges from conferences to two-day workshops, to week long training events.
The Farm Academy is sponsored by the Center for Land-Based Learning out of northern California. It is a seven month training program that starts in February and runs through September at the farm incubator. They learn about and practice basic crop planning and production, soil science, pest management, irrigation methods and other field and greenhouse work while learning about the different types of equipment that is found on a farm. The farm incubator also focuses on the business aspects in key areas such as writing a business plan, obtaining financing, risk management, record-keeping, food safety, and even decision-making and problem-solving. The students visit organic and non-organic farms so they can eventually decide on the type of farming that wish to pursue once the training program is complete.
SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) is a program whose goal is to improve profitability, stewardship, and quality of life by investing in new and groundbreaking education and research to help advance American agriculture. It divides the United States up into four different regions with a volunteer Administrative Council that creates grants and sets regional priorities.
The ATTRA or Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas is a program that classifies a beginning farmer as someone who has operated a farm for less than ten years. It has a directory of on-the-job opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture that helps farmers and apprentices find self-instruction courses. It also has different publications and resources that are available to beginner farmers.
CFRA or Center for Rural Affairs works hard on the national level to encourage growth and support for small family farms, new business owners, and rural communities. With this mentality in mind, they have launched a program that has different resources available for veterans such as a helpline and individual consultations with professionals to learn more about finances and production in the agricultural field. This program also tries to help veterans reestablish themselves into civilian life while filling the void that farmers are leaving as they retire.
The National Farmers Union was founded in Point, TX as the Farmers Educational Cooperative Union of America in 1902. The union helps family farms and ranches address profitability issues and monopolistic practices. Its goal is to protect and enhance the quality of life and economic well-being of family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through advocating grassroots driven policy positions adopted by its membership.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocate for federal policy reform in order to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. They have groups all over the country and have direct representation in Washington, D.C.
The USDA Risk Management Agency was founded in created in 1996 to operate and manage the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation which was founded in 1938. RMA provides crop insurance to American farmers and ranchers through the FCIC. The RMA also sponsors educational and outreach programs and seminars to the topic of risk management.
AgrAbility is a national program that focuses on helping farmers who have disabilities remain in the agricultural industry. Their vision is to enhance the quality of live for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities. They help eliminate obstacles that inhibit successful production agriculture or related occupations. The project is sponsored by the USDA and they collaborate with and between land grand universities and various other nonprofit service organizations. The national project is led by the Breaking New Ground Resource Center at Purdue University.
The VA Chapter 31 is a vocational rehabilitation and employment service program that is run by the VA. Its goal it to help with job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and job searching skills coach. Chapter 31 also helps veterans with independent living arrangements and helps those who are severely disabled and unable to work in a traditional workplace. It has personalized counseling and support to help guide career paths ensuing most effective use of VA benefits.
DTAP or Transition Assistance Program is another program that is coordinated through the VA and was created in a joint collaboration between the VA, the Department of Defense, and other agencies. Its purpose is to help veterans make the transition from military life back into civilian life through work, life, and home. The VA assists with transitional planning, different employment workshops, and paths that are tailored to three areas; Career Technical Training Track, Education Track, and Entrepreneurship Track. They assist with the different elements that are involved in these tracks.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event. It can be from either experiencing it or witnessing it. Since many veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are coming back with some sort of physiological trauma, the VA has tried addressing it more now than in previous years. This site discusses how to recognize PTSD and ask for help or seek help. It also discusses benefits and different forms of treatment available. They now have an app for Smartphones that can help track symptoms, screen reliable information, treatments, direct links to support, and have easy-to-use tools that help ease stress.
A traumatic Brain Injury or TBI is can happen from a blow or jolt to the head or an object penetrating the brain. When the brain is injured, the person may become disoriented and confused or sometimes can slip into a coma. The person might also have a loss of memory for the time immediately before or after the event that caused the injury. While not all injuries to the head result in a TBI, a person or caregiver needs to be aware of certain things. The VA has compiled an informative website explaining how TBI's can happen, treatment options for them, symptoms, and help. It also describes who can suffer with TBI, the consequences, and care of a person with a TBI.
Star Behavioral Health Providers or SBHP is a resource for veterans, service members, and their families to locate behavioral health professionals with specialized training in understanding and treating military and families. It began in Indiana and is now offered in multiple states.
Texas AgrAbility is offering workshops for veterans who are interested in agricultural business start-up and business plan development, possibilities for those veterans who are disabled but would still like to farm, funding, and other resources.
Since many of today's veterans are dealing with PTSD or TBI's, the VA has a specific site that is dedicated to the support and service options available for those who are taking care of loved ones who have served. There is an FAQ section that has more information for caregivers as well. In this section, it lists helpful information and contact information for caregivers and financial options as well. For those veterans that are post 9/11 service members, there is a special section located at this website with specific information regarding their treatment.
Since so many veterans are unemployed, there are now websites available to help encourage job searching and job growth. This is a national map with links to each state's workforce site for employment services. When a veteran clicks on the state of their choosing, they are taken to the state's Department of Workforce Development website which will have different job opportunities and training options. Each state's government is set up differently so veterans should become familiar with their own state's governmental websites and set-up.
The U.S. Department of Labor is interested in helping veterans with unemployment benefits, find training, job search, local help, and resources. They realize that the transition from military life to civilian life can be challenging sometimes and they want to help as much as possible. They have resources available for those wanting to apply their skills that were learned in the military, those who want to go back to school, or other types of benefits and services.
The Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program offers people the opportunity to earn a salary while learning the skills necessary to succeed in high-demand careers. They focus their program on high standards, instructional rigor, and quality training.
Since today's veterans have some of the highest unemployment rates, this site helps veterans find jobs and also helps those veterans who are disabled in finding jobs. Since a lot of federal jobs have high security clearance, it helps with finding and applying for those sorts of positions. It is a way to continue one's service if they so choose. They have resources available to help with the application process and understanding of the process as a whole.
Blue Sky Search is an online database for jobs in sales, marketing and management level jobs in all agriculture-related fields. It focuses on jobs in sales, marketing, and management level areas in agricultural related fields. Candidates can post their resumes on the website and apply for jobs there as well. BlueSkySearch.com is based out of Yuma, Arizona with a new office recently opened in Granbury, TX.
The USDA has a program that is specifically designed for veterans. The program is called Veteran's Employment Program and it focuses on veterans' employment opportunities while offering leadership and guidance on employment of veterans within the USDA.
The federal government is always on the lookout to hire qualified applicants for their positions. This website seeks out veterans searching for jobs in the federal government and has different multimedia resources and information for veterans and those in transition.
VA jobs for Vets helps veterans and transitioning service members find federal jobs. It also develops and implements innovative and comprehensive programs, procedures and services to support federal Veteran recruitment and VA retention and reintegration.
Ground Operations is a group of filmmakers who have come together in hopes of continuing to build the growing network of veterans who are going into agriculture as a means of transitioning back into civilian life and starting a career. It also has a reference page for interested veterans and hits upon Homegrown by Heroes.