Workshops and Farm Tours Introduce Veterans to Farming

Workshops and Farm Tours Introduce Veterans to Farming, Ranching Opportunities

Center for Rural Affairs hosting workshops and  farm tours to help Veterans return Home to Farm and Ranch

During the remainder of August the Center for Rural Affairs along with partnering organizations, will host a workshop and several farm tours for U.S military veterans interested in taking up a career in farming. “While some veterans return home to jobs, many are returning to rural areas where jobs can be scarce,” said Kathie Starkweather with the Center for Rural Affairs, who is managing the project. "The long-term goal for this project is to help new veteran farmers and ranchers successfully establish farms and ranches." The first farm tour will take place at several farm locations near Milford, NE on Tuesday, August 14, 2012. The tour will begin at the West Blue Farm at 9 a.m. Sites will include organic field grains, direct-market cattle & poultry, and farm-transition to a beginning farmer. The tour continues at 1:30 p.m. at the Del Ficke farm, a farm partnership with sons featuring a commercial cattle and grain farm. On Friday, August 17 a final workshop and tour combination in Scottsbluff, NE will conclude the series of Nebraska Veteran Farmers Project meetings that started back in March.

The visits will be part of a day-long opportunity for veterans to learn about options, beginning with a workshop at the North Platte Natural Resources District office at 9 a.m. Farm tours in the afternoon will include the Mitchell Valley Farm displaying organic practices, produce and small grains, and CSA marketing. The tour then moves to the Victory Hill Farm where participants can observe a goat dairy and cheese making, pork, chevon and eggs, and finally marketing at a farmstand and farmers' markets. “Farm tours with established farmers demonstrate successful systems and strategies,” added Starkweather. The workshops and tours are handicap accessible, free of charge and lunch will be provided at no cost. Farm Tour Locations Details: Nebraska Tuesday, August 14, West Blue Farm morning (organic field grains, direct-market cattle and poultry, farm-transition to beinner), Milford, NE Del Ficke Farm afternoon (commercial cattle and grain farm, farm partnership with sons, AgrAbility client), Milford, NE Friday, August 17 - Workshop/Farm Tour combination Workshop 9:00 a.m. - noon North Platte NRD Office 100547 Airport Rd, Scottsbluff NE Farm Tours - afternoon Mitchell Valley Farm (organic practices, produce & small grains, CSA marketing) Victory Hill Farm (goat dairy & cheesemaking, pork, chevon & eggs, marketing at farmstand and farmers' markets). Registration is requested for meal counts by calling the Center for Rural Affairs at (402) 617-7946. Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Farm Credit Services are sponsoring the meals for attending veterans. Individual assistance is available by contacting the Farmer Veteran Coalition at info@farmvetco.org or (530-756-1395, farm business and veteran benefits) and the Center for Rural Affairs at info@cfra.org  (402-687-2100, farm programs). Additional information on the workshop agendas and later farm tours is online at www.cfra.org/veteran_farmers_project. Major funding for this project is provided by USDA Risk Management Agency. Partner organizations include the Center for Rural Affairs, Farmer-Veteran Coalition, Nebraska Farmers Union, Kansas Farmers Union, Missouri Farmers Union, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Kansas AgrAbility Project, Nebraska AgrAbility Project and Missouri AgrAbility Project.

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