Twelve military veterans will join Arcadia Farm in Alexandria, Va. one weekend a month throughout 2016 to learn all aspects of farming – from starting seeds and cultivation to running a successful farm business. Together they will visit farms in the region to understand the full range of business models for these farmers-to-be, and to hear from farmers – many veterans themselves – about the challenges and rewards of the business. The veterans will also spend two full weeks during the year working on Arcadia farm to get a feel for the demanding day-to-day rhythms of agriculture. The Arcadia Veteran Farmer Program is made possible, in part, by the support of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
TheOldManSays that I have been actively reporting on initiatives that assist veterans to develop a career and lifestyle in the farming industry. Veterans can easily adapt their skills and military training to the farming environment and many find this vocation quite rewarding.
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program provides grants to organizations for education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s most recent Ag Census data, the number of young people entering farming continues to decline, but the number of new farmers and ranchers over the age of 35 rises, as does the number of smaller farms and ranches nationwide. Ensuring there will be a “new generation” of beginning farmers and ranchers—regardless of age or production choice—is especially important to the continuation of agricultural production in the United States.
Read more about one veteran farmer on Connection Newspapers’ website