Veterans now have the opportunity to take up farming thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The funding comes from NIFA, who created the Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program.
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The goal behind the program is to get more rural veterans involved in agriculture. The program includes hands-on training as well as formal educational experience for veterans. The program is meant to help veterans begin a career in either the food or agricultural industry. The program also helps those interested in pursuing a career in agriculture to find one, including vets disabled in the military.
The Available Programs
Members of the military have a few programs you can take advantage of to start your farming career. The
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program provides veterans with various training opportunities to become agriculturists. The program is technically for anyone interested in agriculture; however, they are mandated to save at least 5% of the funds specifically for veterans.
You’ll find programs all throughout the country including:
- Arcadia Farm in Alexandria, VA
- Veterans Farm in Jacksonville, FL
- University of Arkansas
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You’ll also find programs in other areas of the country including in Denver, where veterans can take an Intro to
Hydroponics programwhere they will learn to grow specialty greens for area restaurants. In another area of Colorado, veterans can take advantage of the
Colorado Aquaponics class, which is an 8-week course on aquaponics and farming. In Denver, veterans can take part in
In-Soil Farming training, which is a 150-hour program that helps veterans feed the hungry.
Why Become a Farmer?
You might wonder why a veteran would become a farmer. It offers many opportunities, including the ability to be an entrepreneur and farmer all in one. The experience veterans have in being prepared and defending their country, makes them the perfect candidates for a career in agriculture.
In fact, the USDA is on the hunt for veterans willing to work in this industry. They can fill a void that our country needs to help keep our food supply plentiful and safe. Having veterans work within the community also helps build a solid community.
The USDA is dedicated to
providing the resources veterans need to start this career. They offer many resources on their website to help veterans learn about the various options they have both on the farm and beyond.
Military veterans reap many benefits by farming. The benefits are both physical and psychological, helping veterans deal with some of the things they experienced while in the military. If you are a veteran and have an interest in agriculture, it’s well worth looking into as there are many programs throughout the country for you.
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