WATERTOWN, N.Y. — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County is pleased to announce a new initiative titled Farm OPS – Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans. The goal of this program is to connect veterans and military service members leaving military service with careers in agriculture. Funding for this three-year program is provided through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Veterans and Service Members who are separating from service can access a host of workshops, classes, tours, and on-farm internships. In addition, they can practice farming skills on a “Model Farm” owned and operated by a local farm family. By giving veterans these hands-on experiences they can learn the needed skills before making significant capital investments.
Agriculture plays a significant role in maintaining vibrant rural economies and communities. There is a natural synergy between the many skills learned during military service and the skills, dedication and work ethic needed to be a successful farmer. Feeding America and ensuring food security for all is a noble profession diligently carried out by one percent of our population. Similarly, one percent of our nation’s population has elected to protect our security and safety through service in the military.
With an aging farming workforce this project offers opportunities for young and skilled military veterans to enter a wide variety of jobs, careers and businesses in agriculture. Along with growing food and farm careers include diesel mechanics, information technologies, on farm human resources, education, financial planning and more. For more information contact Cathy Moore at 315-788-8450 or email at email@example.com.
“This year the Army named Fort Drum as its best installation, and there is no doubt it’s an accomplishment achieved with great assistance from our incredibly supportive community. Home-grown initiatives like Farm Ops offer tangible benefits to our Soldiers as they transition from the Army, and intangible benefits to our entire force as investment indicating how much their community here cares,” said Eric F. Wagenaar, Fort Drum Deputy to the Garrison Commander.
“New York Farm Bureau welcomes this new opportunity to develop beginning farmers and support rural communities. Veterans and military service members entering civilian life often have the skills, the work ethic and shared values that go hand-in-hand with what is needed on our farms. FarmOPS will help make the connections and support these men and women as they begin new agricultural careers,” comments John Wagner, New York Farm Bureau.
Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County Executive Director Kevin Jordan stated, “We are thrilled to be awarded the NIFA funding to provide opportunities for veterans and transitioning soldiers. The greater Fort Drum area is truly where the Army and agriculture meet. This funding will enable us to enhance experiences and expand programs to a broader audience of veterans and soldiers interested in exploring business or employment opportunities in the agricultural industry.”
–Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County
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