Buck Adams is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a founding partner in Circle Fresh Farms, one of the Rocky Mountain region's largest growers of organic produce providers. In 2011, Adams founded Veterans to Farmers, a Denver Colorado non-profit organization in the hope of both providing job creation and, “…the opportunity to ‘turn protectors into providers’”.
The unemployment rate for post 2001 veterans was 12.7% in May of 2012, compared to 8.2% for non-veterans in the same month, and 26% of post 2001 veterans reported having a service-related disability in 2011. Farming has many parallels to military service in that involves hard, physical task-oriented outdoor labor, risk management, and timely decision making. Success is often dependent on managing a farm crew that has to know its job, must work well together and be given proper instruction, but should also be to change direction or even improvise when things don’t go exactly according to plan. But it also provides a transition to civilian life in a serene, comfortable, and controlled setting.
Adams believes that the growing demand for locally produced and organic food provides an economic opportunity that veterans may be able to take advantage of. According to a July 2012 press release, individuals who apply to the Veterans to Farmers program are accepted into the program [to] participate in a nine-month curriculum, approved by the Veterans Administration, that covers not just agriculture production and management but the specialty area of controlled environment (greenhouse) food production. The program includes operational science and technology, small business management and hands-on training, ensuring the veteran has all the skills needed to succeed in working for someone else or in building their own farm.”
To learn more about Veterans to Farmers, you can visit their website at www.veterantofarmer.org.
For Some time, www.beginningfarmers.org has been highlighting programs, and advocating for policies that promote the ability of military veterans to receive agricultural and horticultural training. We are happy to be able to showcase a new military veteran agricultural training program here. We are also hopeful that the provisions for veteran training within the version of the farm bill passed by the Senate, and by the House Ag. Committee will be swiftly implemented by the passage of a full farm bill before the current bill expires on September 30th of 2012. To learn more about this, check out these previous posts: http://www.beginningfarmers.org/farm-bill-congress-fails-to-act-next-steps/
And to learn more about veteran ag. training programs and our efforts to support them, see: