At the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the vital role that veterans, military spouses, and transitioning service members play in revitalizing and strengthening the agricultural industry is acknowledged and supported. The USDA provides a diverse range of training resources and support to facilitate successful careers in agriculture. The Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison (MVAL) at USDA connects veterans to valuable resources both within and outside the organization. These initiatives contribute to USDA's overarching goal of cultivating a workforce where 25 percent of all employees are veterans.
Recently, USDA's Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development, Risk Management Agency, Farmer Veterans Coalition, and the National AgrAbility Project collaborated with the New England Veterans Business Outreach Center to host a webinar. The webinar covered fundamental aspects of starting a farming or ranching career, seeking employment at USDA, and more. Nearly 600 veterans, transitioning veterans, and military spouses participated in the event. Positive feedback, such as that from Army Veteran Billy VanCuren, highlighted the enthusiasm and appreciation for the valuable resources presented.
VanCuren expressed, "This training has been extremely informative. I've been looking for over a year at various organizations and websites, but the resources have all been compiled into this one webinar, which has given me several solid directions to pursue."
The comprehensive information shared in the webinar is also detailed in USDA's "Get Started! A Guide to USDA Resources for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers" book. This publication outlines assistance and targeted opportunities available to minority, women, veteran, beginning, and limited resource producers in multiple languages.
Veterans can directly access other USDA resources, including:
The AgrAbility project, providing training and financial assistance to military veterans and beginning farmers with disabilities.
The Farm Service Agency, offering loans to help farmers and ranchers secure the financing needed to start, expand, or maintain a family farm.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, providing free technical and financial assistance for conservation work on farms and ranches of all sizes, including urban gardens.
The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production, offering technical and financial assistance for various growing operations, including community farms and gardens.
For more information on employment, education, and entrepreneurship opportunities available through USDA, veterans are encouraged to visit the USDA's web page dedicated to veterans. To learn more and connect with the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison, Monshi “Ram” Ramdass, individuals can reach out via email at email@example.com.
On behalf of USDA and echoing the commitment to veteran success, we extend our gratitude to all veterans for their service. USDA remains dedicated to providing unwavering support every step of the way.
Photo Caption: U.S. Marine Corps veteran Calvin Riggleman holds an oregano seedling and soil on Bigg Riggs farm