Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Support for military veterans who want to farm
The mission of the Farmer Veteran Coalition is to 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. The coalition believes 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.
Through the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, the coalition provides direct assistance to veterans starting out in farming or ranching. The fund does not give money directly to the veteran but rather to a third-party vendor for any items that will make a critical difference in the launch of a young farm business.
Since it began in April, 2011, the fund has provided more than $800,000 to 150 fellows in more than 35 states, and it expects to award more than $300,000 in 2016.
In addition to monetary awards, the fellowship provides support in the form of guidance with respect to production, business planning, and marketing. Awards are also made in the form of scholarships for coursework in agriculture at a college, university, or farm-training program.
To be eligible, applicants must have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, currently be on active-duty or serving in the military reserve/National Guard; be members of FVC; and have an honorable discharge (other characters of discharge may be accepted on a case-by-case basis). In addition, applicants must have an agricultural business in operation; be willing to fully participate in the fellowship program (which includes reporting progress, mentoring aspiring veteran farmers, and the possibility of representing FVC at events); and have a desire to continue to serve others and make a positive impact on the farmer veteran community.
For complete program guidelines and application instructions, visit the FVC website.