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Guest opinion: Military veterans – grow with agriculture

By Erin Schoenberg

For those who have served in the military, agriculture can be a rewarding next move.

Veterans who have gotten involved with farming after retiring from the military have found possibilities they hadn’t previously imagined. Caring for plants, animals and the land can be an antidote to PTSD, an avenue to channel a strong work ethic and skill set and a chance to reach new horizons and connect with new and supportive networks.

But how does one get started?

Many resources exist for veterans interested in starting a farm or ranch operation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has resources specifically developed for veterans interested in ag. More information can be found at usda.gov/our-agency/initiatives/veterans/veterans-and-entrepreneurship, where you can read about their programs and partners, as well as hear first-hand accounts from veterans who have transitioned into ag.

A host of additional resources can be found with the National AgrAbility Project on their resource page at agrability.org/resources/veterans. AgrAbility’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers with disabilities to help them, their families and their communities continue to succeed in rural America. They’re committed to helping military veterans who choose agriculture as their “Next Mission,” as well as beginning farmers with disabilities or other functional limitations.

Farmer Veteran Coalition (farmvetco.org) and Homegrown by Heroes (farmvetco.org/hbh) offer additional opportunities.

Erin Schoenberg is project associate for the Center for Rural Affairs.

FOR MORE COLUMNS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, CHECK OUT OUR OPINION SECTION HERE.

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