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Veteran Farming

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is committed to assisting military veterans through various programs for beginning farmers and ranchers, as demonstrated by the Department’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO) Information for Veterans. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides farm loan programs to help veterans purchase farmland, buy equipment, and make repairs and upgrades. The FSA Microloan program, which offers smaller amounts of support to meet the needs of small or niche-type farm operations, has also grown in popularity among veterans. Since it was initiated in January 2013, the Microloan program has provided millions to support veterans in growing their farming businesses. For more details, see “Secretary’s Column: In Rural America, Promise and Opportunity Abound for Veterans.”

Additionally, FSA provides services to veteran farmers and ranchers through its Minority and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers Assistance program.

The Office of Advocacy and Outreach works with States and organizations to create programs to assist veterans with transitioning to farming, ranching, and other agricultural jobs. One key program is the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (the 2501 Program). The primary purpose of the 2501 Program is to enhance the coordination of outreach, assistance, and education efforts to reach socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers to increase their participation in the broad range of USDA programs.

Financial Resources - Grant and loan programs for military veterans provide vital resources for beginning farmers and ranchers.

Educational and Training Resources - The USDA and numerous partners offer agricultural education and programs to help veterans gain the knowledge essential for success.

Business Planning Resources: Financial and business planning courses can have a significant impact on helping military veteran farmers establish and maintain successful farming or ranching businesses.

According to United States Veterans’ Benefits law, Veteran is defined as a “person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.” (38 U.S.C. 101 (2))

To qualify for programs designed for new or beginning Veteran farmers, Veterans must have no more than 10 years of experience operating a farm or ranch. Other programs, grants, and resources may have additional criteria. For example, see Natural Resources Conservation Service Veteran Farmers.


USDA. Farm Service Agency.


USDA. Farm Service Agency.


USDA. Natural Resources Conservation Service.


USDA. NAL. Rural Information Center.
USDA. National Agricultural Library.



Farmer Veteran Coalition.


New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. Tufts University. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.


Farmer Veteran Coalition.


Farmer Veteran Coalition.


Center for Rural Affairs.


Veterans to Farmers.