Iowa Veterans in Agriculture

Iowa State University Veterans Center Resource Guide
Veterans in Agriculture

Local Resources     
This site is the leading online job board for agriculture, food, and biotechnology. Job seekers can utilize free of charge to search and apply to desired positions.     

Current Point of Contact:
Kathryn Doan, Director of Global Business Development and Technology
800-929-8975 x5191
1531 Airport Rd., Suite 101, Ames, IA 50010

Farm Credit    
Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable and consistent credit today and tomorrow. We provide loans, leases and financial services to farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses across the United States. This focus on agriculture and rural America is the reason Farm Credit was established nearly one hundred years ago, and we've been delivering on that mission ever since - helping fund America's food, fuel, and fiber and supporting the thriving rural communities America's farmers call home. Each local Farm Credit organization is a cooperative that is owned by its customers, and has a deep understanding of agriculture in their area. This expertise enables them to understand the industry sectors they finance and provide an unparalleled level of knowledge and service to their borrower-owners.

Current Point of Contact:
Ames Banking Center
2515 University Blvd., Ames, IA 50010

The Farm Credit Council
7951 East Maplewood Ave, Suite 200, Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (CALT)    
The Iowa Board of Regents created the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (CALT) at Iowa State University in 2006. CALT provides timely, critically objective information to producers, professionals and agribusinesses concerning the application of important developments in agricultural law and taxation (federal and state legal opinions of relevance, as well as critical legislative developments), and is a primary source of professional educational training in agricultural law and taxation.    

Current Point of Contact:
Kristine Tidgren, CALT Director
2321 N. Loop Drive, Ste 200, Ames, IA 50010

Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences    
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at ISU is one of the world’s premier institutions for agricultural and life science education, research and extension.  This year ISU ranked eighth in the world among agricultural universities, measured by academic reputation, employer reputation and scientific paper citations.

The College offers twenty-seven undergraduate majors to prepare students for all aspects of employment in agriculture, natural resources, environmental science and life sciences in general. The College’s research programs serve producers, agribusinesses, rural communities and policymakers.
Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Program is one of the largest Extension and Outreach programs at ISU. Extension specialists on campus and in every county provide information and assistance to farmers, agribusinesses, communities and families. There are numerous programs offering practical help to students, crop and livestock producers, including: Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, Beginning Farmer Center, Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Ag Decision Maker, Egg Industry Center, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Pork Industry Center, and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Current Point of Contact:
Dr. Joe Colletti
(515) 294-1823

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Agriculture    
Women are farmers, agribusiness leaders, family communicators, and visionaries of tomorrow's rural landscapes. They are influential decision makers. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach improves the quality of life in Iowa by providing research-based educational programs for women in agriculture. Courses, peer groups, online networks and special events help women expand agricultural enterprise, improve natural-resource management, and support community networks. Educators work together to develop new programs and create connections among learners. Women in agriculture increase their knowledge and take important actions towards improving Iowa agriculture.     

Current Point of Contact:
Madeline Schultz, Program Manager
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Women in Agriculture
1230 NSRIC Building, Ames, IA 50011-3310

Iowa State University Farm Financial Planning Program     
Farm Financial Planning is Iowa State University Extension's farm financial analysis program. It consists of one-on-one financial counseling, a computerized analysis of the farm business, and referral to other extension programs or outside services that may be useful. Farm Financial Planning is for anyone who wants to understand a complete picture of his or her farm financial situation. It helps take the guesswork out of whether or not a change would increase profitability and improve cash flow. A FINPACK analysis may provide a more in-depth evaluation of the farm business, which many lenders are requiring before they will extend further credit. This service is offered at no charge. It is funded by the Agricultural Credit School, a program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Bankers Association. Farm Financial Planning helps you evaluate your farm business and determine whether a change is desirable. It provides an in-depth plan for the farm business so the operator and the lender can make decisions for the future. Farm Financial Planning helps answer three basic questions of sound business management: Where am I today?, Where do I want to be in the future?, and How do I get there?. The computer analysis looks at profitability, liquidity, solvency, and risk-bearing ability. This information is provided for three or more alternative plans at a time. Examples of alternative plans could be the addition, expansion, or phasing out of a livestock operation, or buying, selling, or renting land. Farm Financial Planning can help evaluate ways to correct negative cash flow and profitability problems.

Current Point of Contact:
John Lawrence
132 Curtiss Hall, Ames, IA 50011

ISU Extension and Outreach's Ag Decision Maker     
Ag Decision Maker is a decision-oriented agricultural business web site designed for farmers, lenders, farm managers, agriculture instructors, and others. Across the mid-west, economics and farm management specialists at Iowa State University and other Universities and institutions write Ag Decision Maker. The Ag Decision Maker focuses in five main areas: crops, livestock, whole farm, new business development, and renewable energy. Decisions in crops are in regards to cost and return, markets, outlooks and prices, machinery and a few others. Farm management decisions for livestock range from facility management to profitability of feeding rations. Livestock covers topics ranging from livestock budgets to planning prices to livestock basis and futures markets. Whole Farm Decision encompass a wide range of topics, including farm and building leasing, land values, financial information, as well as legal and tax issues, and issues related to estate planning. New Business Development encompasses topics ranging from business start-up to operations. The tools in New Business Development can help assess the feasibility of a project or managing a board of directors. Renewable energy includes topics focusing on ethanol, biodiesel, prices on bio products and more.    

Current Point of Contact:
Ann Johanns, Extension Program Specialist
315 Main Street, Osage, IA 50461

ISU Extension and Outreach's Agricultural Management e-School    
The Agricultural Management e-School offers four course options in Advanced Grain Marketing ($100 registration fee), Financial Decision Making ($150 registration fee), Farm Leasing Arrangements ($100 registration fee), and Farm Land Valuation ($100 registration fee). Courses can be taken at any point during the year and our for a ninety day term to allow a student to log in when they choose to complete the work.    

The Advanced Grain Marketing Course helps you understand, develop, and implement better grain marketing practices to enhance your financial well-being at the farm level. Learn the concepts and tools you need to know in order to develop your own grain-marketing plan. The Financial Decision Making Course teaches you how to develop accurate and useful financial statements for your business. Learn how to understand principles of advantage, cash management, and asset investment. The Farm Leasing Arrangements Course helps you compare different types of farm leases, negotiate lease terms, resolve legal questions, develop a fair lease agreement and more. The Farm Land Valuation Course will teach students about determinants of land values and analyzing farmland investments. Also how to understand appraisal techniques and how farmland compares to alternative investments, as well as comparing farmland ownership to other investment opportunities.

Current Point of Contact:
Tim Eggers, Field Ag Economist
Page County Extension Office
311 E. Washington Clarinda, IA 51632

ISU Extension and Outreach's Local Foods Team   
The mission of ISU Extension and Outreach's Local Foods Team is to support the development of resilient food systems and healthy communities through research, education and outreach in collaboration with diverse partners. The focus is on four main areas: beginning farmers, community development, economic development, and evaluation. Within each of these areas, we have several programs and strategies.
This group may be interested in particular in our community food systems curriculum (a tool to promote local food system revitalization in various communities), a number of projects currently happening under this program (urban farms, processing centers, training programs, etc.), a beginning farmer curriculum, a project working on creating an accredited farmer training program, and many others.

Current Point of Contact:
Courtney Long,
ISU Extension and Outreach
2625 N. Loop Drive, Ste. 2430
Ames, IA 50010

ISU-Extension Value Added Agriculture Program (Business and Enterprise Development)    
Professionals with the program work with producers or entrepreneurs wishing to start a business that would effectively gather in a few links of the Value-Added food chain or capture value from developing a start-up business. Clients may be an existing main street business that wants to expand into the storefront next door or are a manufacturer who wants to capitalize on a market opportunity. Staff is ready to serve a broad audience:  first-time entrepreneurs, beginning farmer-ranchers, existing business owners exploring new opportunities, persons just wanting to understand more about the entrepreneurial process and the various types of assistance, or individuals interested in emerging technologies or market trends. Professionals of the program have closely work with new-product conceptualization and development, infrastructure improvement, alternative agriculture, aquaculture, hydroponics, agroforestry, biomass utilization, bio-fuels, local foods, women-in agriculture, rural-enterprise development and international education, development and capacity-building initiatives.

Current Point of Contact:
Craig Chase, Director
Extension Value Added Agriculture and the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center
2625 N Loop Dr. Ste. 2430, Ames, IA 50010-8635

Extension Value-Added Agriculture/Business Development:

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture    
The Leopold Center is a research and education center on the campus of Iowa State University that was created to identify and reduce the negative environmental and social impacts farming and develop new ways to profitably farm while conserving natural resources. The Center's work is focused into four initiatives:  ecology, marketing, food-systems management and crosscutting (water, energy, soil, and alternative-farming systems).

Center funding comes from state appropriations and from the 1987 Groundwater Protection Act fees on nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides. The center grants funding to projects that often include farmers and farmer groups, and frequently builds project relationships between other state, federal, and non-governmental entities.    

Current Point of Contact:
Mark Rasmussen, Director Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
209 Curtiss Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1050

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)    
Since 1988, the SARE grants and education program has helped advance agricultural innovation that promotes profitability, stewardship of the land, air and water, and quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and their communities. To date, SARE has funded more than 4,200 projects with grants to farmers, ranchers, and agricultural professionals. SARE Outreach produces a wealth of practical information for farmers, ranchers, and educators: books, bulletins, online resources, a database of projects, fact sheets, and the SANET listserv.    

SARE's Professional Development Program builds the awareness, knowledge and skills of agricultural professionals - Cooperative Extension, NRCS, FSA, private sector and NGOs - in sustainable practices. SARE began in response to the up swelling of demand for solid, science-based sustainable agricultural research and information.

Current Point of Contact:
Christa Hartsook, Iowa State Coordinator North Central Regional SARE and Program Coordinator
Extension Value-Added Agriculture Program

Women Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN)    
Women are the fastest growing demographic of both beginning farmers and military veterans. Many women from both urban and rural backgrounds are interested in farming. Iowa is home to 17,835 women vets. The rate of unemployment for women vets is higher than that of men. As with careers in the military, women face special challenges entering male-dominated agricultural careers. WFAN formed in 1997 to provide networking, education and leadership development opportunities to women engaged in all aspects of healthy food and farming. One of our most important programs has been Harvesting Our Potential(SM) an internship program that places young women who want to become farmers on working Iowa farms with experienced farmer mentors for eight to twelve weeks during the growing season. These internships are invaluable to both the farmers and the interns. Farmers receive able, willing help during the busiest time of the year on their farms, and the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge with the next generation of women farmers. Interns get hands-on experience with horticulture, livestock, food handling, marketing, and all other aspects of farming for a living.

Current Point of Contact:
WFAN PO Box 611, Ames, IA 50011
(515) 460-2477

State Resources

Agribusiness Association of Iowa    
The Agribusiness Association of Iowa exists for the purpose of advocating, communicating, and educating on behalf of a proactive, profitable, and environmentally responsible professional agribusiness industry, which is positioned for the future. AAI’s membership consists of over 1,100 business locations across the state that supply feed, seed, crop protection chemicals, grain, fertilizer, equipment and additional products and services that benefit agriculture, as a whole.  The AAI Services Inc., and the AAI Foundation, both wholly owned subsidiaries of AAI, provide specific services and educational opportunities to AAI members and eight statewide business associations regarding Iowa Agriculture.    

Current Point of Contact:
Joel Brinkmeyer, CEO
(515) 262-8323
Agribusiness Association of Iowa
900 Des Moines Street, Des Moines, IA 50309
(800) 383-1682

Hertz Farm Management, Inc.     
The Hertz team will work to help you profit from your farm or agricultural investment, providing services that include professional farm management, real estate sales, auctions, acquisitions, and farm appraisals.  Our main goals are to look after our clients’ best interests and to increase the net return on their assets, while ensuring stewardship of the land.    

Current Point of Contact:
Loyd Brown, President

Headquarters: 415 South 11th Street Nevada, IA 50201-0500

Iowa Finance Authority Agricultural Programs    
The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) has touched the lives of countless Iowans through a wide variety of affordable financing programs throughout its 40-year history. Affordable housing programs offered by IFA include mortgage and down payment assistance, as well as programs that assist in the development and preservation of affordable rental properties. IFA also offers programs to assist beginning farmers and ranchers and community development, including the issuance of tax-exempt bonds and providing low-cost funds for drinking water and wastewater facilities through the State Revolving Fund.  In addition, the Agricultural Development Division offers loan and tax credit programs to assist beginning Iowa farmers. Iowa Title Guaranty is also administered at IFA and offers guaranteed title to real property in Iowa.    

Current Point of Contact:
Steve Ferguson, IA AG Program Specialist
2015 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312
515-725-4928 or 1-800-432-7230

Iowa Women in Agriculture    
Iowa Women in Agriculture is affiliating with the national organization American Agri Women, creating “Iowa Agri Women”. Women in Agriculture has as its mission to be the leading resource and advocate for women engaged in all aspects of agriculture. Our goal is to provide the educational opportunities women need to increase their skills in making business and financing decisions. We also seek to provide women opportunities to build networks and friendships with other women actively involved in today’s agricultural industry. The Iowa Women in Agriculture programs’ intent is to identify the unique needs of women who are involved in agricultural production and in agribusiness and to provide the network of resources and expertise necessary to meet successfully those needs.

Current Point of Contact:

Cheryl Tevis, President

ISU Beginning Farmer Center    
In 1994, the Iowa legislature created the Beginning Farmer Center, which is part of Iowa State University Extension. The idea for Beginning Farmer Center developed from a series of discussions with legislators, Extension personnel, and others concerning what could be done to encourage new farmers. These discussions led to the conclusion that it was necessary to have a center to focus exclusively on the needs and issues facing beginning farmers. It was also determined that this center should facilitate matching beginning farmers with existing farmers who wanted to transition their farm businesses to the next generation.

The objectives of Beginning Farmer Center are to: coordinate education programs and services for beginning farmer efforts statewide; assess needs of beginning farmers and retiring farmers; develop, coordinate, and deliver targeted education to beginning and retiring farm families; and provide programs and services that develop skills and knowledge in financial management and planning, legal issues, tax laws, technical production and management, leadership, sustainable agriculture, human health and the environment.

Current Point of Contact:
David W. Baker, Farm Transition Specialist and Beginning Farmer Network Advisor
ISU Extension - Beginning Farmer Center
10861 Douglas Avenue, Ste. B, Urbandale, IA 50322
877-232-1999 or 515-252-7801 

Practical Farmers of Iowa    
Practical Farmers of Iowa’s mission is to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa membership reflects the diversity and vibrancy of Iowa agriculture. Members vary greatly in enterprise, production philosophy, farm size and age. Farmers in this network produce corn, soybeans, livestock, vegetables, hay, small grains, fruits and more. Events and programs are farmer-focused and farmer-led.

Current Point of Contact:
Julie Wheelock, Beginning Farmer Program Director
Practical Farmers of Iowa

The Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF)    
The organization was created by farmers in 2004 with the mission of working with farmers to advocate and help implement on-farm best-management practices that assist Iowa's farm families in raising livestock responsibility and successfully. To date, The Coalition has assisted more than 2,700 Iowa farm families.    

CSIF is a partnership involving the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation and Midwest Dairy Association. CSIF is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that assists farmers at no cost. It does not lobby or develop policy.     

Current Point of Contact:
Brian Waddingham, Executive Director Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers
P.O. Box 9127, Des Moines, IA 50306

The Easter Seals Iowa Rural Solutions Program    
This program supports Iowa farmers and farm family members with disabilities, along with rural residents with disabilities, so they can continue to live and work in their communities.    

Current Point of Contact:
Tracy Keninger, Director
Rural Solutions and Assistive Technology Center
Easter Seals of Iowa
401 NE 66th Ave., Des Moines, IA 50313

The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)    
The NRCS formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides technical assistance to farmers and other private landowners and managers. As of November 2011, the NRCS consists of forty-two programs and activities. The NRCS also offers services to private landowners, conservation districts, tribes, and other types of organizations    

Current Point of Contact:
Dana C. Holland, NRCS District Conservationist
Marshalltown 641-753-8677, ext. 3
Nevada 515-382-2217, ext. 3

United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency    
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) equitably serves all farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. Agency/Internal Vision of the FSA is to be a customer-driven agency with a diverse and multi-talented work force, dedicated to achieving an economically- and environmentally-sound future for American agriculture. The Societal/External Vision is to have a market oriented, economically- and environmentally-sound American agriculture delivering abundant, safe and affordable food and fiber supply, while sustaining quality agricultural communities.

Current Point of Contact:
Amanda De Jong
Iowa State Office 10500 Buena Vista Ct, Urbandale, IA 50322-3782
(515) 254-1540, Fax (515) 254-1573 Story County Service Center

Nevada Service Center 510 S. 11th Street, Nevada, IA 50201-2740
(515) 382-4714, Fax (855) 208-7477

Veterans in Agriculture    
This non-profit organization is dedicated to empowering veterans to thrive in Iowa agriculture. The group provides educational services to military veterans of any era or branch of the military, and is inclusive of all types of agriculture. VIA, hosts educational events for farmers, and acts as a conduit between the agricultural, military and veteran communities.      

Current Point of Contact:
Beth Grabau - Executive Director
10861 Douglas Avenue
Urbandale, IA  50322
(515) 252-7810

Women in Denim    
The goal of Women in Denim is to support women in agriculture and those who enjoy the rural way of life. Women involved in agriculture will find workshops to sharpen their skills in decision-making, leadership, finances, and knowledge of agriculture. There are workshops that also support and acknowledge the importance of family, community, leisure time, quality of life and overall wellness.    

Current Point of Contact:
PO Box 146, Alta, IA 51002
(712) 299-3332

National Resources

Established in 2002, AgriSeek  combines an extensive job listing with an interactive business directory and information service for the agricultural industry. The site help farmers to to identify market opportunities, sell their products FREE of charge, find equipment and supplies. Agriseek is FREE for employers and job seekers and is encompassing all aspects of agriculture from Animal Science to Environmental and Soil Sciences.

Current Point of Contact:
Pavel Bancu, CEO
5240 Rue Berry, Montreal QC, H2J3Z9

Annie's Project    
Annie's Project is an educational program dedicated to strengthening women's roles in modern farm and ranch enterprises. Our mission is to empower farmwomen to be better business partners through networks and organization and management of important information. Participants will gain a better understanding of human resource issues, business plans, financial documentation, property titles, cash and crop share leases, marketing plans, retirement and estate planning, and types of insurance.

Current Point of Contact for Iowa:
Madeline Schultz
Iowa State University
1230 NSRIC, Ames, IA 50011

Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture Veteran Farmer Reserve Training Program (National-Virginia)
The Veteran Farmer Reserve Program is a tuition-based training program that will take place one weekend a month for twelve months beginning in January 2016, with an additional eighty hours of on-farm practical training to be completed before the end of the year. Based at Arcadia Farm at Woodlawn, but extending into the rural area surrounding the national capital region, this training requires that participants have a commitment to learning about both growing food and planning a successful farm business operation. Farmer Reserves will experience both classroom and hands-on practical training on our sustainable farm, and will visit diverse farming operations to see other specialties and approaches to farming. Reservists will also have homework and reading assignments to complete between their monthly workshops. A major emphasis of this program is developing familiarity with required business skills to run a successful farm operation, including business planning, basic accounting, and marketing.  

Current Point of Contact:
Pamela Hess, Executive Director
9000 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA 22309
(571) 384-8845

Archi's Acres, Inc. (National-California)
Archi's Acres is a farming enterprise that utilizes hydro-organic technology to grow produce. Archi's Acres provides a one of a kind world-class agricultural entrepreneurial incubator program, the Sustainable Agriculture Training (SAT) program, in partnership with Cal Poly Pomona, with the intent to expose strong leaders to the entrepreneurial opportunities, which exist in the agriculture industry today. Archi's Acres was founded on two core objectives: to develop a business that would provide business ownership opportunity for veterans and to create a viable sustainable organic produce farming business.    

Current Point of Contact:

Armed to Farm     
Armed to Farm is sustainable agriculture training for military veterans. NCAT has been involved in targeted veteran outreach and assistance since 2010. NCAT agriculture specialists have hosted and been involved in at least seventeen veteran focused trainings, reaching over 800 veterans across the US. NCAT has collaborated with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Farmer Veteran Coalition, University of Arkansas, Growing Warriors, and other sustainable agriculture organizations to train veterans interested in sustainable agriculture careers. The goals of Armed to Farm are:  to train veterans and their partners to operate sustainable crop and livestock enterprises, to create a network of veterans and their families who are starting careers in sustainable agriculture, and to provide technical assistance to participants as they start and improve their farming operations. Trainings range in length from conference presentations, two-day workshops, and weeklong training events. The multi-day programs include a mix of educational classes— covering topics such as risk management, business planning, and marketing—and hands-on activities at successful livestock, crop, and agritourism operations.

Current Point of Contact:
Margo Hale

Center for Rural Affairs Veterans Farmer Project    
The mission of the Center for Rural Affairs is to establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities. The Veterans Farmers Project offers individual consultations with professionals for financial and production advice; a helpline for phone and email inquiries, resources and support; and webinar recording on resources for veterans as new farmers.     
In the last ten years, almost a million of our military’s servicemen and servicewomen have come from rural communities. As these veterans return home, they bring with them an opportunity to employ their passion, discipline, and sense of service to revitalize America’s small farms and rural communities. America’s farmers and rural communities are aging, and few new farmers are getting started. By returning to their farming roots, veterans can carry on the proud tradition of small American family farms. The Veteran Farmers Project provides veterans with the business and agriculture education that can help them become successful farmers. By creating sound farm businesses that tap into high value markets, returning veterans can reintegrate gracefully and fruitfully into America’s rural communities.

Current Point of Contact:
Traci Bruckner
(402) 687-2103 ext. 1016
Center for Rural Affairs
145 Main St., PO Box 136, Lyons, NE 68038
(402) 687-2100

Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots (National-Nebraska)
Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots is a University of Nebraska – Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) program designed to assist eligible military personnel, their families and armed forces veterans to become Farmers, Ranchers, and Business Entrepreneurs in their next careers. Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots utilizes existing programs funded by the federal Department of Agriculture, Small Business Administration, Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, and various state and local agencies to create successful business succession plans that match participants with existing farm/business/ranch owners.

Current Point of Contact:
Tina Smith, Admissions and Recruiting Coordinator
Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
404 E 7th St., Curtis, NE 69025

Cornell University Armed to Farm Program and Regional Learning Networks (National-New York)
Armed to Farm
- As part of our educational programming, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will deliver their ‘Armed to Farm’ program to New York farmer Veterans. This program provides an intensive weeklong residential business and entrepreneurship training for Veterans interested in farming.
Regional Learning Networks – Working with our partners in Cornell Cooperative Extension and other regional leaders, we will create farmer-to-farmer learning groups for Veterans to gather, prioritize educational goals, learn from each other, and develop mentoring relationships with other farms and organizations available to support their goals. In addition to these learning groups, these regional networks may also gather for more intensive daylong trainings, farm tours, or field days. Contact the leader for your region if you are interested in being involved.

Current Points of Contact:
Western New York – Lynn Bliven
Northern New York – Catherine Moore
Eastern New York – Leora Barish
Southern New York – Laura Biasilllo
Central New York – Matt Weiss

Delaware Valley University Organic Farming Program for Veterans (National-Pennsylvania)
The Organic Farming Program is a thirty-six credit, one-year certificate program offered through a partnership between Delaware Valley University and Rodale Institute. The program can lead to a rewarding career producing food in a way that restores, maintains and enhances the natural world. Organic agriculture promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs. Students take courses such as Commercial Vegetable Production, Organic Food and Fiber, Principles of Sustainable Agriculture, Plant Health Management and Soil Biology. They also apply what they learn at both Delaware Valley University and Rodale Institute during practicums. Students who complete the program leave with the knowledge and experience necessary to start a small-scale organic farm or, work for an organic operation. The program offers assistance with job placement and developing business plans so that graduates can easily move right into rewarding careers in organic agriculture.     DelVal is proud to be a Yellow Ribbon School. The program is an approved non-degree certificate program and is eligible for enrollment by veterans who would like to use their education benefits. Even if you are not sure if you want to start the program yet, you can still find out how much funding you are eligible for. Interested veterans can take this step without committing to starting the program.

Current Point of Contact:
Kerr Smith, Military and Veterans Affairs Certifying Officer

Linda Lefevre, Program Inquiries/Admission

Desert Forge Foundation Warrior Farmer Project (National-New Mexico)
Training and employment program in controlled environment agriculture (hydroponic greenhouse food production) for returning combat Veterans, as part of Phase 1. Phase 2 will continue with the training and employment of Veterans with the creation of a large urban hydroponic farm and multi-use campus in downtown Albuquerque, including café, separate kitchen, creative spaces, and market, collocated on farm. On-site training and classes provided by Veteran farmers on topics such as urban farming and hydroponics. For the community at large, the Warrior Farmer Project casts an even longer shadow, providing Veteran empowerment, food localization, economic development, and agricultural revitalization, and training and employment program in traditional farming and hydroponic greenhouse food production.

Current Point of Contact:
Victor Versace, Founder
P.O. Box 5156, Albuquerque, NM 87185-5156

Buena Tierra Farm
2000 Harzman Road SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105

Farm Bureau Patriot Project
The Farm Bureau Patriot Project is a mentorship program that connects military Veteran beginning farmers and ranchers with experienced Farm Bureau member farmers and ranchers. American Farm Bureau is conducting a pilot of the FB Patriot Project in Texas and Arkansas in partnership with the Texas Farm Bureau and Arkansas Farm Bureau. American Farm Bureau has worked with beginning farmer programs to identify interested military Veteran farmers. The FB Patriot Project will expand to include more states in Spring 2016. If you are: a military Veteran beginning farmer or rancher interested in participating in the program, a Farm Bureau staff member who would like to offer the program in your state, or a beginning farmer program director who would like to connect your military Veteran graduates with mentorship, you should contact Morgan.

Current Point of Contact:
Morgan Slaven

Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC)    
The mission of Farmer Veteran Coalition is mobilizing Veterans to feed America. We cultivate a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. We believe that veterans possess the unique skills and character needed to strengthen rural communities and create sustainable food systems. We believe that agriculture offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits. We support all valid national, regional, or crop-specific efforts to connect veterans with agriculture and encourage collaboration instead of competition with other groups providing services to our nation’s veterans.  The Fellowship Fund is designed to assist veterans beginning a career in food and farming, and assist current Farmer Veterans with business expansion.

Current Point of Contact:
Farmer Veterans Coordinator Headquarters
4614 2nd Street, Suite 4 Davis, CA 95618

Florida International University Veteran and Small Farmers Outreach Program (VeSFO) (National-Florida)
This program is looking to enhance the sustainability of farm operations of Veterans, socially disadvantaged, and new farmers in South Florida. The program is funded by the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach under the 2501 Program for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran farmers. This is a collaboration between the FIU CASA and Redland Ahead, Inc., which is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving Veterans interested into entering into farming, and supporting FIU in its role as a USDA-designated Hispanic Serving Agricultural College and University. Farm Assistance and Technical Workshops will train small farmers, particularly underserved farmers and veteran farmers, on how to gain access to USDA assistance and grants programs, and on general technical and business aspects of farming. These workshops are free.

Current Point of Contact:
Nina De La Rosa
Agroecology Program, Department of Earth and Environment
11200 SW 8th Street, ECS 157, Miami, Florida 33199

Ground Operations Battlefields to Farmfields
Ground Operations is a call to action featuring a documentary film and a national tour of audience engagement events that feature a screening of the film, farm-fresh food and farmer-Veteran speakers. We invite everyone interested to join and share our campaign to strengthen the network of combat Veterans transitioning into sustainable agriculture and to help increase the resources necessary for them to create healthy new lives for themselves and food security for communities across America.
Our Veterans are looking for new challenging careers at the same time that the USDA is calling for one million new farmers and ranchers in the next ten years to replace the 50% of American farmers who are at retirement age. Agriculture’s problem is the Veterans’ solution. Citizens are clamoring for access to more affordable locally grown, fresh food in their communities, from the urban core to the suburban and rural countryside. The Cavalry coming over the hill is just that – it is the Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force, and National Guard. In a world full of problems, Ground Operations is a story about solutions.

Current Point of Contact:
206 So. Blanche St., Ojai, California 93023

Growing Healthy People (National-Illinois)
Growing Healthy People (GHP) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to grow healthy people through our work with Veterans and others providing locally grown fruits and vegetables, education on nutrition and small-scale agriculture, and job tracks in local food production. Our primary focus is to offer both work and healing opportunities to Veterans by introducing them to sustainable agriculture to grow food for themselves, their families, and for local food pantries. America needs one million new farmers over the next ten years. Veterans have the skills and the drive to become the next providers of our food – in our country.

Current Point of Contact:
Cheryl Besenjak, Executive Director
122 Center St. Suite 2, Grayslake, Illinois 60030

Growing Warriors (National-Kentucky)
The mission of Growing Warriors is to equip, assist, and train our military Veterans with the skills they need to produce high quality organically grown produce for their families and communities. This is an opportunity for Veterans to serve their communities in a new roll – as true nation builders- literally from the ground up- family-by-family and region by region.

Current Point of Contact:
Mike Lewis, Executive Director

GruB Victory Farmers (National-Washington)
Victory Farm is a safe, non-confrontational environment where Veterans work shoulder to shoulder, immersed in the healing nature of the outdoors, agriculture, and dirt work. In this environment, we find new meaning and purpose. Stories are shared, new connections are made, and roots in community take shape. Victory Farm offers hands-on opportunities for Veterans to develop their skills in sustainable small-scale urban agriculture and food production. Learning opportunities include (and are not limited to irrigation, vegetable propagation and cultivation, soil health, harvest techniques, and small market management.

Current Point of Contact:
718 Milas Avenue NE, Olympia, Washington 98506

Heroic Food (National-New York)
The mission of the non-profit Heroic Food Project (HFP) is to prepare and train military veterans for careers in sustainable farming, agricultural trades, and food entrepreneurship in a veteran-supportive environment. Heroic Food was conceived as a way to help veterans address the challenges of transition, while also helping the nation address its growing need for new farmers and burgeoning demand for locally, sustainably grown food. The Heroic Food Project is designed to embody a working model of sustainability, community conservation and regeneration. The Heroic Food Full-Year Immersion (FYI) Program is designed for veterans with an interest in ecologically sustainable farming for small scale commercial or homestead operations. Trainees either come from local areas and commute from home, or live on the Heroic Food Farm located on twenty tranquil acres just two miles outside of Hudson, NY. They gain hands-on experience through apprenticeships with local mentor farmers, craftspeople and food entrepreneurs. In addition, the program offers workshops, short-courses and individualized support for life and career transitions.

Current Point of Contact:
28 Fish and Game Road, Hudson, NY 12534
(917) 806-5055

Lucky Nickel Ranch (National-Arizona)
The Lucky Nickel Ranch serves as both an organic farm and a classroom for Veterans. The program collaborates with the University of Arizona College of Life Sciences and Extension in order to provide training and classroom time, where participants learn about the science of farming and how to write a business plan.

Current Point of Contact:
Michael McKenzie
7361 S. Linda Lou Rd., Eloy, Arizona 85131

Michigan State University Vets to Ag Program (National-Michigan)    
The Vets to Ag program is an innovative residential training program for US military veterans to work in a variety of food, agricultural, and natural resources businesses.  Training is coordinated by the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology and is delivered by experts from MSU faculty and staff, including MSU Extension, Kellogg Biological Station, and the private sector. Sample areas of training include landscape and nursery management; parks, recreation and natural resource management; food production, processing and distribution; and meat cutting and processing. We are seeking qualified veterans to participate in this intensive education program.  You will receive a prorated stipend based upon the length of the training.  Moving assistance may be available to help those who are willing to relocate.  Those who successfully complete the training will receive a certificate of completion from the Michigan State University Institute of Agricultural Technology.    

Current Point of Contact:
Tom Smith, Program Coordinator
Michigan State University Institute of Agricultural Technology
Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture
446 W. Circle Dr. Room 121, East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 353-4822

Roots to Road (National-Washington)
Roots to Road is an innovative partnership at Clark County’s Heritage Farm that teaches Veterans small-scale farming and related employment through its Partners in Careers program. Veterans farm a one-acre plot with a portion of the produce going to local food banks and pantries. Partners in Careers (PIC) is dedicated to helping people achieve self-sufficiency through specialized job training and employment services.  

Current Point of Contact:
Christine Humphrey

The Start2Farm database serves as a one-stop reference for anyone looking for programs and resources to start farming and to be successful in their first years as a farmer or rancher. does not provide training or funding, instead, it functions as an information service to help aspiring farmers and ranchers easily find the programs and resources available to them.    

Current Point of Contact:
Start2Farm National Agricultural Library
10301 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Farming and Ranching Workshops for Veterans (National-Texas)
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in cooperation with the Texas AgrAbility Project (Battleground to Breaking Ground) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, present agriculture workshops throughout the year in Texas for active duty and veteran military service members. The workshop gives current and former military with or without disabilities interested in farming or ranching the opportunity to get information on starting, developing and funding an agriculture business. Presentations address how to develop an agriculture business plan, starting an agriculture business, possibilities and options for farming or ranching with a disability, and resources available for funding an agricultural enterprise.

Current Point of Contact:
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Agriculture and Life Sciences
Building 600 John Kimbrough Blvd., Suite 509, 7101 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-7101 (979) 845-7800

Troops to Tractors (National-Pennsylvania)
Troops to Tractors is a new program to connect Veterans who want to farm with successful farm mentors, with the intention of helping facilitate paid apprenticeships, internships, or custom programs of a similar nature. Veterans may be eligible for GI Bill or VA support for these. Veterans who wish to farm are interviewed and screened by Westmoreland Conservation District staff and matched with farmers in the region.

Current Point of Contact:
Mimi Brooker
(724)837-5271, ext. 211

United States Department of Agriculture, New Farmers    
We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management. We have a vision to provide economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve our Nation's natural resources through conservation, restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands. New and beginning farmers and ranchers are as diverse as American agriculture itself. New farmers are growing traditional crops and new varieties, organic produce and heirloom products. They are part of row-crop farms - employing cutting-edge technology and equipment - and community supported agriculture programs - delivering fresh products directly to their neighbors. They are raising beef, pork, dairy cattle, poultry, and fish on operations of every size. The USDA's site on New Farmers gives resources on education and assistance, access to land and capital, managing risk, protecting the environment, and expanding business.

Current Point of Contact:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250
(202) 720-2791

Veteran Farmers of America (VFA) (National-California)
VFA was founded to help veterans with the transition from active duty to civilian life. Our hope is to help veterans heal, reintegrate and become productive members of society. The benefit to the veterans will be helping them transition from protecting their country to providing their fellow Americans with food, which will undoubtedly continue to give them a sense of contribution and fulfillment. Veteran Farmers of America or “VFA” is an organization that connects veterans to agriculture in many ways. One way we introduce veterans to farming is by providing paid internships at a variety of the nation’s leaders in agriculture. Future programs are to include a veteran operated farm and a scholarship program.

Current Point of Contact:
Mary Maranville, Co-Founder

Lawrence Parkhill, Co-Founder

Veterans Farm (National-Florida)    
Our mission is to help veterans reintegrate back into society with our Beginning Farmer fellowship program. While working together in a relaxed, open environment veterans will work as a team to develop solutions that will enable them to overcome physical and mental barriers.     America's farms are facing a crisis for lack of young people going into agriculture. Most statistics point to the average American farmer being between fifty-seven and sixty years old with four farmers retiring for every one entering the field. Our goal is to help fill this gap by partnering with organizations such as the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Farmers Veterans Coalition to assist returning veterans in obtaining the training and resources to start their own farm or to work with larger farming organizations.

Current Point of Contact:
Michael Burke, Coordinator of Programs and Services
Mailing Address: 9526 Argyle Forest Blvd., Ste B2, #321 Jacksonville, FL 32222
Physical Address: 5571 Long Branch Rd., Jacksonville, FL  32234

Veterans Farmers Project (National-New Mexico)
The Veteran Farmer Project (VFP) brings together farming and gardening educators and professionals to provide classroom and hands-on experience geared for Veterans but open to the whole community. It provides the initial training for Veterans to start or work at sustainable agriculture businesses as it provides a therapeutic garden space for Veterans to learn to grow fresh produce. The VFP offers an annual workshop series focusing on technical aspects of vegetable production and animal husbandry. All Veterans, active service, and National Guard people are welcome and encouraged to participate in the program. The VA offers rides to both the classes and garden site from the Albuquerque VA Campus upon request and availability.

Current Point of Contact:
Robin Seydel, Community Development Coordinator
(505)217-2027 or (877)775-2667

Veterans Homestead Project (National-Colorado)
VHP’s mission is to provide American combat Veterans instruction in regenerative agriculture practices. VHP ensures a path for Veterans, which not only supports reintegration to civilian life but also leads to a sustainable future of food. The goal of the Veterans Homestead Project is to teach Veterans and their families about grazing practices, soil building, animal care, food preparation and preservation, cheese making, greenhouse production, hydroponics, pasture management, and composting. Learning these skills enables Veterans to become self-sufficient and create sustainable means to produce an income. The project also has goals to offer communication skill building and serve as a regional information center where Veterans can learn about other support programs available for them.

Current Point of Contact:
Edit Aquarian, Founder
14179 Hwy. 140, Hesperus, Colorado 81326

Veterans to Farmers (VTF) (National-Colorado)
The vision of Veterans to Farmers is to return the family farm to a prominent position on the American landscape. The mission is to provide American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts with pride, education, and fulfillment through a permanent source of sustainable income, community, and contribution the family farm. VTF is collaborating with organizations to help ensure our graduates have many sustainable career options after completing the training program. Whether it’s management in an up-and-coming greenhouse franchise that sells CSA shares year-round, employment opportunities with greenhouses selling food to restaurants and grocery stores, or providing further education and support to help our Veterans start their own greenhouse business, VTF ensures a path to a secure economic future, that also leads to a sustainable future of food. Farming utilizes many of the same skills required in the military—hard work, attention to detail, etc.—and has been proven to provide therapeutic benefits to many types of trauma, including PTSD. VTF’s six week training and hands on includes everything from greenhouse structure to growing the crops. The program also includes small business management education and discussions on securing financing, which ensures participants not only have the skills needed to succeed in working as an employee, but also in managing their own farm operations. There is no cost to the veteran to participate in the program and a stipend will be provided to each veteran during the training.

Current Point of Contact:
Veterans to Farmers c/o Buck Adams
150 S. Marion Pkwy., Denver, CO 80209
(720) 477-0225