Farm Training and Apprenticeships
To be a farmer, you’ll get the opportunity to be an entrepreneur, equipment repair specialist, soil scientist, and land steward all rolled into one. Training opportunities and apprenticeships can be a great way to equip yourself with the right tools and skills to start or manage a farm, and build key experiences and qualifications to participate in certain USDA programs.
Use the resources listed below to get connected to training opportunities and to learn how your GI Bill benefits can help make this possible. USDA grant funding supports a number of organizations devoted to providing technical assistance and education to beginning farmers. In particular, starting in 2014, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and the Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program offered set aside funding for veterans training. As those training programs and resources are developed, they will shared at Farm Answers.org. See below for training, mentorship, and other opportunities available to veteran farmers.
ATTRA, an information service funded by USDA, provides resources and technical assistance for beginning farmers, including internship opportunities.
GI Bill Benefits and Registered Apprenticeships: Registered Apprenticeship allows veterans to gain farming experience through an apprenticeship approved by the Department of Labor. Registered apprenticeships feature partnerships with employers to provide on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Apprenticeships offer you the opportunity to make sure farming is the right path for you, while ensuring that you gain essential business, farm management, and marketing skills. Completion of a Registered Apprenticeship program will also prepare you to qualify for USDA’s farm and farm loan programs. During an apprenticeship, you will earn wages that are supplemented by the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s tax-free monthly stipend, and can receive an additional stipend for books and supplies. Other GI Bill programs also qualify for payments during the apprenticeship program.
Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund
The Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) provides a wide variety of services designed to assist veterans in making a successful transition into an agricultural career. Their "Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund provides direct assistance to veterans in their beginning years of farming or ranching."
Sponsoring Organization: Farmer Veteran Coalition
VSAT Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training
"In this program, students will receive training in hydroponics, drip/micro irrigation, environmental control, soil biology, composting, greenhouse management, and more. The six-week intensive course meets 8-5pm M-F and will introduce you to sustainable agriculture as a viable career option."
Sponsoring Organization: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona College of the Extended University
Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots
Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots is a University of Nebraska - Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) program designed to assist eligible military personnel, their families and armed forces veterans to become Farmers, Ranchers, and Business Entrepreneurs in their next careers.
Sponsoring Organization:Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
Integrated Poultry, Livestock and Agroforestry Production and Training for New and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
We have created a learning and production program that uses elements and strategies that are easy and inexpensive to implement, keep and manage while providing fast returns and multiple marketing opportunities (poultry, small ruminants and agroforestry) while using ecologically and financially sustainable strategies.
Sponsoring Organization: University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
Tennessee New Farmer Academy
The Tennessee New Farmer Academy for New Farmers, Ranchers and Returning Veterans is a seven-month certificate program which includes hands-on practical agricultural training on the farm, mentorship by a farmer, monthly meetings, and monthly workshops.
Sponsoring Organization: Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension
The Farm Bureau Resource Guide to Assist Veterans in Agriculture
Originally developed for Farm Bureau office staff, this resource guide from the American Farm Bureau Federation encourages a smooth transition for military veterans seeking employment in the agricultural industry. The resource guide is created through a partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
Veterans In Agriculture
"We are farmers, veterans, agri-business professionals, educators, and other service providers dedicated to empowering veterans to thrive in Iowa agriculture. We have programs and resources for veterans aspiring to farm. We provide guidance to veterans seeking employment in agriculture and rural areas."
Sponsoring Organization: Farmer Veteran Coalition
Veterans Training Program
A collaborative training program between Veteran's Farm and the University of Florida "includes hands-on and certification training."
Sponsoring Organization:University of Florida Extension
Organic Farming Program
"The Organic Farming Program is a 36-credit, one-year certificate program offered through a partnership between Delaware Valley University and Rodale Institute. Participants spend two semesters at Delaware Valley University and a summer at Rodale Institute."
Sponsoring Organization: Rodale Institute