Earlier this week, the Nebraska Farmers Union announced that it would be putting on a series of workshops designed to help veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq transition back to civilian life and get involved in farming.
The push to make it easier for veterans to get involved in agricultural production is hardly new. For the past several years, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have pushed for programs helping veterans get started in agriculture. Arguing that the discipline and structure of military life makes them ideal candidates for agricultural work, the government has gone to lengths to make credit available to veterans and to encourage them to join the farm economy.
Earlier this year, for example, the USDA collaborated with the American Legion, a social and mutual-aid veterans’ organization, to help veterans enter the agricultural workforce. In a statement announcing the partnership, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “America’s veterans are leaders across rural America and we want to help them pursue their dreams by prioritizing innovative new approaches, attracting capital and forming partnerships like this to continue economic development in rural communities.”
The Nebraska workshops, which will be held at the end of the month, will seek to help veterans interested in farming gather information about the industry. Speakers will include representatives from the Farm Service Agency, the Farm Credit Agency, the USDA’s Rural Development program, and other farm advocacy groups. Topics will address “everything from financial planning and resources to business management,” the Farmers Union president said. “We are bringing in producers to talk about what they’ve done and give folks ideas on what they could possibly do with an operation they’re thinking about starting or maybe already started.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer