Troops Transitioning to Agriculture Can Get Tips at Conference

vetfarm3Veterans and active military personnel interested in post-military careers in farming can learn about available resources during a two-day conference in mid-March.

Virginia State University’s Small Farm Outreach Program and the Veteran Farmer Coalition will host “Boots to Roots” March 17 and 18 at the Gateway Event Center in Colonial Heights.

Opening day seminars will teach veterans how to apply for grants available to retired military personnel and how to utilize resources offered by U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies. Conference attendees also can take a bus tour of Slade Farms in Surry County, which is operated by military veteran and retired Virginia Cooperative Extension agent Clif Slade.

Workshops on March 18 will focus on business planning, urban farming and AgrAbility, a USDA-funded program supporting farmers with disabilities.

Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, Virginia commissioner of agriculture, and Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the Veteran Farmer Coalition, are the event’s keynote speakers.

“There’s a need for veterans who farm to come together to collaborate, commiserate, exchange ideas and learn from what others are doing in farming and agriculture,” said Tony Edwards, beginning farmer veterans coordinator for the Small Farm Outreach Program. “This conference is full of information that military veterans need to help them get their farm operations started.”

To register, visit

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