A New Generation of Farmers: From Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots

An inspiring article written by Robert Mellinger in Yes! Magazine highlights veterans who are getting a fresh start through several different projects around the country.

The Farmer-Veteran Coalition (FVC) was formed by Michael O’Gorman, a successful organic farmer for 40 years. The FVC “connects veterans to the resources they need to start their farming careers.”   The FVC established the Farmer-Veteran Fellowship Fund which provides “individual grants of up to $10,000 for education, supplies, and equipment.”

The University of Nebraska – Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture has designed “Combat boots to Cowboy Boots” to assist in training military personnel, their families and armed forces veterans to become farmers, ranchers, and business entrepreneurs.

I can imagine how healing it is for veterans to find necessary, meaningful work.  Many soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Not only do these programs contribute to the healing and transition out of combat for our veterans, but farming also serves the needs of a larger community.  Rebuilding dwindling rural counties and creating new farming communities  will be necessary to sustain us in the future.

As the average American farmer (many baby-boomer farmers born between 1946 and 1964) is nearing retirement age, we welcome a new generation of farmers.

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