If you look at any ag operator/owner statistics, you’ll find that the overall number of individuals in agriculture is dropping and the average age or operators is rising. Essentially, if we are going to have all the warm bodies required to meet our country’s ag needs—and that of the world’s—in the future, then we need to get more younger people interested in agriculture as a career and way of life. To that end, many organizations and groups are rolling out programs aimed at serving another important group at the same time: our country’s veterans. In short, those programs attempt to bring veterans and agriculture together.
In light of veteran’s day next week—November 11th—learn about the various programs available that help veterans returning from overseas to get into agriculture.
The Patriot Project through the American Farm Bureau Federation. This program pairs veterans interested in agriculture with experienced Farm Bureau members as mentors. Find more information here.
Programs for Veterans through the USDA. The USDA is also interested in veterans wishing to transition into agriculture. From education to capital for land, supplies and operating fees, the USDA has a lot to offer. Find more information in this pdf.
Homegrown By Heroes branding through the Farmer Veteran Coalition. In addition to support and information for veterans-turned-farmers, the FVC administers the HBH branding label nationwide. Basically, if veterans grew or raised a product, the HBH logo will let American consumers know they are supporting a veteran by purchasing the product. Get more information here.
Many banks and lending institutions also offer special loans and terms to veterans looking to go into agriculture. The Internet is full of information, but most of it can be found through one of the above resources. Our veterans deserve jobs and livelihoods upon leaving the armed forces, and the agriculture industry, in addition to greatly in need of those willing to do hard work, has a way of feeding the soul. It seems a match destined for success. Next week, thank a veteran, and let him or her know about the programs in agriculture available.