news from farmer veterans
What would you do with $10,000? For a returning veteran, it could help launch a new career.
Around the country, veterans are returning home from tours of duty and reintegrating into civilian life. Roughly 20 percent of our service members come from rural communities, so we shouldn't be surprised that some look to farming and ranching as a promising second career.
In the past few years, the number of inquiries we receive from veterans or veteran-serving organizations interested in agriculture has grown from a trickle to a steady stream.
We've heard from people such as Alex Sutton, a young Army veteran living in Jackson Springs. Alex served four combat tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan, and multiple missions in South America. During his last deployment to Iraq, Alex suffered severe wounds from an IED blast. Today, Alex and his fiancée, Jessie, are using a small grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, administered by the Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund, to build a poultry hatchery. Alex is now serving his country in a new way: by raising our food.
Small farms like Alex's are a common entry point for veterans and other beginning farmers because they require less land and start-up capital than conventional farms. When grants are available from private foundations, they can act as the little push needed to get things started - providing enough money to build a temporary greenhouse or make a down payment on a tractor. But these grants are not always available. And to be successful over the long term, producers need ongoing access to credit.
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