The northeast regional office of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will conduct a week-long Armed to Farm workshop at Houghton College, Allegany County in western New York State from August 2 through August 7, 2015.
The program is available to military veterans in New York state who have recently begun farming (less than 10 years) and who wish to learn more skills, explore sustainable and diverse enterprises, and improve or change their farm business plans.
Applications are due by June 26 and can be submitted online at https://www.ncat.org/NY_atf/.
The Cornell Small Farms Program is sponsoring this event and along with NCAT is partnering with staff from Cornell Cooperative Extension to conduct the training. This is the fifth residential, six-day Armed to Farm program that NCAT has delivered since 2013 and is available to veterans from the Empire State at no cost through a USDA-funded Beginning Farmer Rancher Grant. The program includes classroom and on-farm learning through exercises, discussions, presentations, hands-on skill practice, and tours at host farms in the area.
Instructors include sustainable agriculture specialists from NCAT, Cornell staff, USDA agencies, and host farmers, many of whom are veterans. According to Norm Conrad, NCAT’s northeast regional director, the peer teaching by other farmers is what sets Armed to Farm apart from many other programs.
In addition, spouses and farming partners are welcome to apply. Host farm visits include livestock, fruit, vegetable, and dairy operations with hands-on sessions. Those visits are interspersed with short classroom presentations and breakout sessions. Participants also receive a set of educational materials that include a selection of ATTRA sustainable agriculture publications and related texts. The program includes meals, materials, and lodging for the week. More information about Armed to Farm and other NCAT farmer veteran resources can be found at the link www.ncat.org/armedtofarm/