Veterans in Agriculture: A Solution to the Decreasing Farmer Population
Two out of every three farmers who reach retirement are not being replaced, leading to loss of farm land, knowledge, and further farm consolidation. Many farmer training programs, farmer advocates, and government partners have recently identified military veterans as a unique group of potential new farmers. Indeed, veterans have skill sets and personal attributes that are advantageous to farming. Moreover, veterans are fervently seeking careers that can provide them with purpose and space to recuperate. But veterans also face unique challenges in addition to the systemic issues that all beginning farmers face. This participatory roundtable discussion will raise awareness about veterans’ unique strengths and challenges in agriculture, and identify strategies for agricultural service providers and experienced farmers to reach out to and support veterans transitioning into agriculture. To ground, energize, and inform this conversation, this session will feature three veterans who have started a small farm businesses, a youth urban farm project, and an urban aquaculture and vermiculture consulting business.
Moderator: Aaron Magill, Veteran Outreach Coordinator, Farmer Veteran Coalition