Grants For Veterans To Start A Farm – Access to start-up capital is a major challenge for farmers. The Small Grants Program from the Farmer Veterans Coalition is very helpful. More than 100 veteran farmers receive news that they have received equipment thanks to the Veteran Farmer Scholarship Fund. The grant supports veterans in the first years of work in agriculture and animal husbandry.
“We directly buy equipment that farmers find critical,” explains Jeanette Lombardo, FVC’s executive director. “Our veterans risk their lives to protect us. It is an honor to help them grow their business so they can continue to feed their community.”
Grants For Veterans To Start A Farm
For 11 years, this funding has benefited farmers. More than 700 veterans benefited from $3.5 million worth of equipment distributed. That’s 600 individual stories that FVC has been able to tell, with 100 more to share in the near future.
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The equipment will be delivered to the farm soon – between now and summer. Recipients look forward to growing greenhouses and tents, cold storage and cold storage, milking systems, water filtration and honey bees. Other unique requests include a mushroom substrate steamer and a lavender bud cleaner.
“It’s Christmas week at FVC and we’re all busy wrapping presents,” says Rachel Pettitt, who has directed the scholarship program for seven years. “Now we start loading him onto Santa’s sleigh.”
Funding is made possible by Kubota Tractor Corporation, Tractor Supply Company, Wounded Warrior Project, Farm Credit, Tarter USA, Homestead Implements, Vital Farms and even directly from other veteran farmers.
This year, FVC is very pleased to see the support come to an end with two previous fellows. Eric Grandon of Sugar Bottom Farm in West Virginia received a grant for a 50-cubic-foot refrigerator in 2015 to store the romaine lettuce he delivers to local schools. Now he keeps 5 beekeepers with equipment. Anthony Barreras, a 21-year Army veteran, runs the Barreras Family Farm in Nebraska, where his 2019 grant allowed him to build his chicken coops. It finances others in the same country.
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And Julie Hollars, who famously exclaims that “most girls want diamonds, all I want is a tractor!” when he received the Kubota Award through the Geared to Give program in 2016 — also pledged his support through donations.
Some of this year’s grantees have mentored other veteran farmers throughout their careers. Many intend to hire veterans as their business grows. Some will buy their gear from other FVC members, effectively doubling their influence in the community.
“The needs of our rural communities are enormous,” Lombardo admits. “We were inspired by the participants who registered. It was difficult to choose the finalists this year; we understand the impact grants have on people’s lives. This strengthens our commitment to secure more funds for the next round.”
His words came on the day of the largest number of new members the organization has ever seen. Last week, after the Veterans Administration released news about the Farm Veterans Coalition, 1,300 new members signed up within 24 hours. “It may have taken us 3 years to get to where we are in the last few days,” says FVC founder Michael O’Gorman.
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Now, these 128 scholarship recipients are surviving their mission to serve our country a second time — feeding it — adding new capital aid.
You can view the full list of 2021 honorees here. Five Kubota “Designed to Give” scholarships will be announced later this month. Image: Charlie Jordan, a retired US Army pilot and certified Tennessee Homegrown by Hero grower, is leading the organizing effort for the Tennessee Veterans Farmers Coalition chapter. Left: Jordan talks with Tim Prater, director of the TN AgrAbility/UT Extension Project, about getting started with farmers. see more
Less than 1 percent of the American population can identify themselves as farmers, which begs the question, “Who will be the next generation of farmers?”
The Farmer Veterans Coalition (FVC) national movement believes that veterans can serve their country in a new capacity as a provider of food and fiber to the nation – and help themselves in the process. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture and many parties in Tennessee, including the University of Tennessee Extension, Tennessee State University Extension and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, agree. Supported by the USDA, Tennessee has a new program that will help make some veterans’ dreams come true. It can also help others who want to farm but don’t know where or how to start.
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The Tennessee Early Farmer Development (TBFD) program will provide resources and assistance to beginning farmers, especially military personnel, veterans and farmers with disabilities. Funded by two 3-year awards from the USDA, TBFD will launch in early 2018 in upper Middle Tennessee and then expand statewide. Upper Middle Tennessee was chosen because of its proximity to Fort Campbell, which has a high concentration of military personnel, including active duty, discharged and retired. The program will be expanded statewide in years 2 and 3.
Farming offers purpose and opportunity, as well as physical and psychological benefits. TBFD will work to connect agricultural opportunities with Tennesseans looking to start, grow and finance farm businesses.
Eileen Lego, UT Extension Project (TNAP) Area Specialist, says, “Another goal of TBFD is to help build a statewide network of veteran first-time farmers. We are looking for farmers interested in mentoring their first farmers or perhaps offering internships. learning on their farm.” Lego is committed to helping beginning farmers. “With all the USDA resources and Extension education programs available, AgrAbility and TBFD are helping farmers with disabilities see that farming with disabilities is possible with modifications and assistive technologies. Veterans people with disabilities may see their disability as an obstacle to their dreams of farming, but through the grants here, we will offer hope and resources to make that dream come true,” he said.
Karla Keen, TSU Extension agent in Montgomery County and West Tennessee program manager, said the TBFD program goes beyond traditional agriculture but will offer opportunities in horticulture, horticultural therapy and tree care. “This project will be useful for beginning farmers and especially those who leave the army and want to learn more about agriculture.”
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Jenny Goodrich, TSU East Tennessee Extension program manager in Morgan County, encourages all farmers to set realistic goals, farm business plans, farm health and safety plans, and marketing plans to be successful and profitable. As the contact for TSU Small Farm Veterans, Goodrich shares her experience as a veteran widow and offers farming background information to those new to the business.
For the past 4 years, Tennessee Extension has directed beginning farmers to the Tennessee New Farmer Academy, a seven-month hands-on agriculture certification program led by Finis Stribling, TSU Regional Extension Specialist. The academies will expand across the state in 2018 and are linked to primary education opportunities for farmers.
The USDA award, totaling nearly $739,000 over 3 years in separate grants to the two universities, will help fund UT and TSU Extension specialists as they meet with farmers to develop business and financial plans to help start-up farm businesses their farms success. TBFD is a partnership between the University of Tennessee Extension, Tennessee State University Extension, the Tennessee Agriculture Project, the Veteran Farmer Coalition and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture that supports the Homegrown by Heroes project through the Pick Tennessee Products program.
Tim Prater, a UT extension specialist, will serve as the principal investigator for the UT portion of the grant and the Tennessee AgrAbility project. Doctor. Roy Bullock, extension professor and head of TSU’s agriculture program, coordinates TSU’s grants.
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Disclaimer: AAAS and ! is not responsible for the accuracy of any news releases posted on ! by a contributing agency or to use any information through the system.TOPEKA, Kansas () — The USDA is providing Kansan with funding for underserved farmers and ranchers and veterans.
On Wednesday, March 9, the USDA announced that approximately $35 million has been awarded to community and nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions and tribal organizations to help veteran farmers and underserved ranchers own and operate successful farms .
The USDA says the funding came through the Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Outreach and Assistance Program and the Farmers and Ranchers Veterans Program. It said the 2501 program was implemented through the Office of Partnerships and Community Engagement.
“It has always been difficult for beginning farmers, young producers, specialty crop producers to access and benefit from USDA programs, and even more so for farmers of color who have been denied access due to historical discrimination in agricultural programs,” said director of OPPE. Lisa Ramirez. “2501 funding helps historically underserved groups access and participate more fully in USDA programs and services.”
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