Few pairings more closely align than Veterans and farming. The skill sets developed in military service match many of the characteristics of a successful agricultural professional. Whether it’s a sense of duty, responsibility and accountability for completing the mission, or being organized and disciplined, Veterans typically transition naturally into farming, ranching, and other agricultural opportunities.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture knows what Veterans bring to the table: a strict adherence to rules and schedules, the ability to problem solve quickly and creatively, and strong work ethic. In return, USDA is committed to assisting Veterans across the country to keep America’s food supply safe and secure.
Metro Atlanta Urban Farm CEO Bobby Wilson talks with NRCS’s Shemekia Mosley, Chris Groskreutz and FSA Beginning Farmer Regional Coordinator Rodney Brooks about future opportunities his farm. USDA photo by Preston Keres.
In 2018, USDA’s Farm Service Agency provided $64.5 million in direct and guaranteed farm operating loans to Veterans—and Veterans have preference.
Veteran farmers and ranchers receive certain preferences under most USDA farm credit and farmland conservation programs. They are eligible for increased cost share assistance, additional financial incentives, and funding preferences for engaging in conservation efforts.
For Veterans living in rural America, USDA has additional resources to strengthen and empower skilled Veteran leaders to support the communities they know and love.
“Nearly one quarter of Veterans, approximately 5 million, live in rural areas,” said Bill Ashton, USDA Military Veteran Agricultural Liaison. “They [Veterans] can be a positive force for our communities. USDA is committed to making our programs accessible to help Veterans start or grow a career and maximize the potential talent of this population.”
U.S. Army Veteran Jody Schnurrenberger, Hock-Newberry Farm operations owner and U.S. Coast Guard Veteran Erica Govednik, and U.S. Army Veterans Christine and David Hale, Jr. at Hock-Dewberry Farm, an organically-managed farm in Marshall, Virginia.
USDA’s Rural Development has more than 40 loan, grant, and technical assistance programs including support to:
- Purchase and develop land and facilities
- Purchase equipment and supplies
- Refinance for job expansion
- Finance for energy efficiency improvements
Veterans in urban areas also have resources available. Whether its backyard or rooftop farming or cutting-edge technologies in intensive indoor hydroponic or aquaculture farms, USDA can help urban Veterans explore opportunities in agriculture. USDA’s Urban Agriculture Toolkit is a great place to start.
USDA ensures that Veterans looking to return home or start a new career on a farm or in a rural community have the tools and opportunities needed for success. Resources are available in every aspect of the agricultural industry, including Entrepreneurship, Education and Employment.
USDA’s Veteran website serves as a one-stop navigator for Veterans looking to learn more and support the critical mission of preparedness and defense of America’s food and agriculture sectors.