Grant helps veterans return home to the farm and ranch

Mar 2, 2012
by WLJ

While some veterans returning home have jobs waiting for them, many do not. Many are returning to rural areas where jobs can be scarce. The USDA Risk Management Agency has awarded the Center for Rural Affairs, Farmer-Veteran Coalition, Nebraska AgrAbility Project and eight additional partner organizations funding intended to introduce new veteran farmers and ranchers to various areas of agriculture. The goal is to find solutions to the employment and economic challenges facing so many rural veterans.

“The long-term goal for this project is to help new veteran farmers and ranchers successfully establish farms and ranches in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri,” said Kathie Starkweather with the Center for Rural Affairs.

According to Starkweather, the project will allow veterans to learn strategies and implement plans for farm/ranch start-up, including financing, land access and business development. Veterans will also learn to access the resources available to them for technical assistance, production and marketing information and mentoring.

The Center for Rural Affairs and its partner organizations will hold educational workshops in Nebraska and Kansas to provide information and introduce resources on specialty crops, livestock, land access, financing, crop insurance, production and marketing high value crops and resources for beginners, veterans and the disabled.

In Nebraska, workshops will be held Thursday, Mar. 22 at ARDC near Mead and Friday, Mar. 23 at NCTA in Curtis. For details about the workshops, contact Sharry Nielsen, UNL Extension and Nebraska AgrAbility Project,, or Kathie Starkweather, kathies@

The project will include farm tours of sustainable grain, vegetable and livestock operations later in the year, as well as presentations on organic certification, production techniques and marketing. — WLJ