In the last 10 years, almost one million military servicemen and servicewomen have come from rural communities. As these veterans return home, they bring with them an opportunity to employ their passion, discipline, and sense of service to revitalize America's small farms and rural communities.
Center for Rural Affairs, based in Lyons, and several partnering organizations this spring presented several workshops and farm tours to provide Veterans interested in starting their own farms or ranches with advice and resources.
Due to overwhelming participation in those successful workshops and tours, and high demand for more, the Center for Rural Affairs is currently planning farm tours and workshops for veterans and the public through the summer and early fall, says Kathie Starkweather with the center.
Farm tours in Nebraska with established farmers will demonstrate successful systems and strategies. All tours will be handicap accessible, free of charge and lunch will be provided at no cost.
"While some veterans return home to jobs, many are returning to rural areas where jobs can be scarce," says Starkweather, who is managing the project. USDA's Risk Management Agency awarded funding to Center for Rural Affairs and its partners to introduce new veteran farmers and ranchers to various areas of agriculture. According to Starkweather, the long-term goal for this project is to help new veteran farmers and ranchers successfully establish farms and ranches in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and Missouri.