As part of my role as Agricultural Outreach at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County I help support the Cornell Small Farms Program’s Northeast Beginning Farmers Project initiative called Farm Ops. These efforts provide veterans and active duty military/families with resources for entering the agriculture industry whether it is starting their own farm, working in agribusiness, or working for an existing farm through On the Job (OJT) training. In addition to resources such as guidebooks, online courses, scholarships, etc., interested persons are encouraged to attend existing CCE programming free of charge. Throughout the last year or so, several success stories have surfaced from the North Country. An Infantry Captain from Fort Drum volunteered on a local organic farm on Wellesley Island and is now running his own farm in his home town in New Hampshire. Another recent veteran started selling produce from his roadside stand and is planning to expand his farm with the guidance of CCE and organizations such as the Farmer Veteran Coalition. A local veteran beef farmer recently played host to a farm tour open for other vets and active duty members. This event was not only a rewarding experience for the farmer, but also the 15 attendees who left with resources and inspiration. Over the next year, outreach will continue to build stronger relationships with veteran agencies, help find farms interested in the OJT opportunities, and help veterans and military families harvest experiences in agriculture.
Last updated August 28, 2017