Nebraska Extension, in cooperation with Center for Rural Affairs, has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to launch a three-year training program for veterans who are interested or already involved in agriculture.
Through NIFA’s Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans — also called AgVets — program, Nebraska Extension and the Center for Rural Affairs have developed a training program featuring workshops, field demonstrations, business planning and other educational programming led in part by three veteran-owned farms. Experienced producers from the Barreras Family Farm, Lakehouse Farm and Anchor Meadow Farm, along with other expert resource providers, will share business and production skills for beef, vegetable and pork enterprises.
“Putting the Pieces Together, A Year in the Life of a Diversified Farm” will provide a unique and focused learning opportunity for prospective active and retired military veteran farmers so that they can start successful farming enterprises of their own,” said Nebraska Extension Educator Katie King.
Each year from 2021 through 2023 will contain 11 educational opportunities, rotating monthly between online classrooms and on-farm classes to teach the skills. Participants will gain critical knowledge of farm start-ups, learn how to access additional resources and networks, and walk away with a business plan of their own. Classes will follow recommended health and safety precautions, with online alternatives presented for all in-person events.
“The grant allows the program to be offered at no cost for participants and creates a tight-knit environment to learn the key production and management steps of distinct veteran-owned and operated farm businesses,” said King.
The schedule for 2021 to 2023 is as follows:
2021 (online) – Meet the farmer, hear their farm dreams and land access: Cornett family will discuss vegetables
2022 – Meet the farmer, hear their farm dreams and land access: Barreras family will discuss beef
2023 – Meet the farmer, hear their farm dreams and land access: Hendl family will discuss pork
2021 (on farm) – Demonstration: Season starting and seed starting
2022 – Demonstration: Care for chicks, hatching out versus buying chicks
2023 – Demonstration: Preparing for pigs, setting your on-farm infrastructure
2021 (online) through 2023– Holistic goal setting
2021 (on farm) – Demonstration: Planting in the field and early season field preparation
2022 – Coop and pasture preparation
2023 – Piglets: here they come! What to do and how-to problem-solve.
2021 (online) through 2023 – Enterprise budgeting and use them for USDA programs and record keeping
2021 (on farm) – Demonstration: Market preparation for farmers market and restaurant sales
2022 – Demonstration: Collecting, cleaning and packing eggs
2023 – Demonstration: Weaning piglets, piglet maintenance and breeding for genetics and feed considerations
2021 (online) through 2023 – Markets: which one is right for you?
2021 (on farm) – Demonstration: Harvesting and post-harvesting handling
2022 – Demonstration: Land management and diet considerations
2023 – Demonstration: Grazing rotations and fencing
2021 (online) through 2023 – Insurance and legal considerations
2021 (on farm) – Demonstration: End of season wrap-up, season extension & soil preparation
2022 – Demonstration: Winter preparation, winter marketing and delivery
2023 – Demonstration: Winter preparation and butcher day
2021 (online) through 2023 – Business plan presentation and USDA programs
Participation is free for participants who are United States active or retired military veterans with an interest in farming. Registration is required. Contact Erin Schoenberg at email@example.com or 402-499-2781 if interested in more information, signing up, or presenting at one of the online events.