Veterans in Agriculture

Veterans often encounter unique obstacles when considering entering into farming. There are over 800,000 military veterans in New York State, but they exist in a dispersed population, varying from 3-15% of the total population of each county. Because they do not have a dominant presence in any one location, specialized resources are often lacking, ultimately presenting a high barrier to entering agricultural jobs and further marginalizing these veterans. Agriculture is not directly supported by Veterans Affairs – veterans cannot use education funds for most farm training and often cannot use vocational training funds for farm related occupations. In addition, many veterans have unique disabilities (e.g. amputations, PTSD) and training and resources need to include mechanisms to address these issues. Over the last two years, the Northeast Beginning Farmer Program has begun receiving an increasing number of requests each month from veterans seeking assistance.

To enhance the resources and training available to military veterans interested in farming, we will team with established Veterans groups to:

  • Create a statewide service provider network for organizations to support agriculture training for veterans
  • Implement multiple education strategies to engage and train military/ veterans who want to farm

    Regional Learning Networks

    Working with our partners in Cornell Cooperative Extension and other regional leaders, we will create farmer-to-farmer learning groups for veterans to gather, prioritize educational goals, learn from each other, and develop mentoring relationships with other farms and organizations available to support their goals. In addition to these learning groups, these regional networks may also gather for more intensive day long trainings, farm tours, or field days. 

  • Here in the Southern Tier we will be hosting 3 regional trainings throughout 2017 in the following topic areas: Beekeeping for Beginners; Raising Livestock (beef, pigs & sheep); and Growing Vegetables in a High Tunnel.  We are working in partnership with the Small Business Administration, The Vet Center, Southern Tier Veterans Support Group, STOP-DWI, and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo's office on this initiative.
  • Contact

    Laura Biasillo
    Agricultural Economic Development Specialist
    lw257@cornell.edu
    (607) 584-5007

    Last updated December 12, 2016