Find out what makes agriculture a perfect fit for many of our nation’s veterans and learn more about the organizations and programs supporting them.
On this Memorial Day, AgAmerica Lending would like to show our respect and appreciation for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We thank the courageous individuals who have served or are actively serving in the military, as well as their devoted families. We would also like to recognize the organizations and not-for-profits that support our veterans.
Read on to learn more about the work our military heroes are doing on farms and ranches across the U.S., as well as the organizations and programs designed to give veterans in agriculture a helping hand as they launch and pursue their new careers.
U.S. Veterans in Agriculture
The Veterans Administration reports that nearly 24 percent of military veterans put down roots in rural areas after completing their military careers. Many of those veterans also choose to become agricultural producers, including those with little or no farming experience.
For example, Tenita Solanto of Green Panda Farms in Silver City, North Carolina, didn’t come from a traditional agriculture background, but after serving in the U.S. Navy, she attended an Urban Farming Seminar at the Minority Landowners Conference in Fayetteville and was inspired to begin a new endeavor growing microgreens. Today, Solanto grows microgreens year-round and sells her bounty at farmers markets, local grocery stores, through distributors, and online for delivery in the state’s Triangle, Triad, and surrounding areas.
Charley Jordan, a former U.S. Army aviator and battalion operations officer, has also cultivated a thriving career in production agriculture. Jordan owns Circle J Ranch in Woodlawn, Tennessee, where he raises Hereford and Texas Longhorns, hens and grows tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage, and pollinator gardens with zinnias and other wildflowers.
John Fant, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, opted to raise cattle after his military service as well. Fant co-owns Summerfield Farm in Grayson County, Virginia, which specializes in grass-fed beef cattle, and he participates in the Farmer and Rancher Mentoring program (FARM)—a program designed to help beginning farmers establish and sustain viable agricultural operations and communities.
Organizations, Programs, and Initiatives Supporting Veterans
Both Jordan and Fant received assistance from the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC), billed as the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans and active duty members start careers in agriculture. Open to veterans and active-duty military service members, the FVC also encompasses Homegrown by Heroes, which is the official farmer veteran branding program of America and currently includes more than 1,100 members in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico.
In addition, veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury can be included in the Wounded Warrior Project that offers programs in areas such as emotional recovery, physical wellness, career counseling, and personal independence.
Another program serving wounded veterans is Operation Outdoor Freedom, based in Florida and open to veterans who received a Purple Heart or have a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or greater from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. The program uses designated state and agricultural lands throughout Florida for activities such as camping, hunting, lobster-diving, cattle drives and more to help veterans experience enjoyment and camaraderie. Since the program’s beginning over five years ago, it has hosted 430 events and serviced nearly 3,500 wounded vets.
The National AgrAbility Project also serves wounded veterans and helps connect vets with training and employment resources, as well as financial assistance.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is dedicated to assisting veterans, too, by connecting them with financial, educational, training resources, and business planning support. For example, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides farm loan programs to help veterans purchase farmland, buy equipment, and make repairs and upgrades to their operations. The FSA’s “Beginning Farmer” direct and guaranteed loan programs, also teaches veterans how to become prosperous and competitive in the ag industry.
AgAmerica Lending Proudly Serves Veterans
AgAmerica proudly supports the courageous sacrifices that our military men, women, and families make for our nation. We thank you for your selfless dedication.
Build a Stronger Financial Future with AgAmerica’s Custom Lending Solutions
AgAmerica Lending helps farmers and ranchers in every corner of the country develop and succeed with agricultural loans offering low interest rates and long amortizations. With expertise in cattle, timber and row crop land, we custom-build term loans and lines of credit to suit a variety of agribusiness operations. If you’re ready to discuss your financial future, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 844.516.8176.