Veterans have character and possess unique skills that they can transfer into meaningful careers in agriculture. After their sacrifice and service to our nation, veterans are continuing to serve by joining the ranks of America’s farmers
Davis, CA (PRWEB) April 03, 2013
The Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) has announced that it has filed articles of incorporation and will seat its first official board of directors. The board is comprised of leaders from national farm organizations, academia, the military and the Farmer Veteran community. An organization dedicated to veteran assistance, FVC was started in 2009 by organic farming pioneer Michael O’Gorman and has grown into a network of veterans pursuing careers in agriculture in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The mission of the Farmer Veteran Coalition is to mobilize veterans to feed America. It provides practical skills education, career counseling and one-on-one coaching to prepare veterans to become farmers. In addition, the organization offers the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, a small grants program that targets disabled veterans and those who have recently returned from service, assisting them to heal from service-related injuries in a productive farm environment.
The Chair of the new board is Gary Matteson, Vice President of Farm Credit Council for Young, Beginning and Small Farmers. Farm Credit Council is the national trade association representing the Farm Credit System. “Veterans have character and possess unique skills that they can transfer into meaningful careers in agriculture. After their sacrifice and service to our nation, veterans are continuing to serve by joining the ranks of America’s farmers,” said Matteson.
Retired Brigadier General and fourth-generation Missouri farmer, Charles Kruse will serve as Vice Chair. General Kruse served for 18 years as President of the Missouri Farm Bureau. “As a life-long farmer and having served 26 years in the military, I am proud to be involved in an effort to help veterans become involved in Agriculture. They have stepped up and served us; now it is our turn to serve them.”
Larry Jacobs, Co-Founder and Owner of Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, one of the nation’s leading organic vegetable and fresh herb companies, and Founder and CEO of Farm Fuel LLC, will serve as Secretary. Poppy Davis will serve as Treasurer. Ms. Davis is the past national program leader for Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers at the USDA, where she co-founded the USDA for Veterans Reservists and Military Families workgroup.
Donn Teske, President of the Kansas Farmers Union, will serve as the Representative-at-Large to the Executive Committee. Teske is a fifth-generation family farmer from Northeast Kansas where he raises organic soybeans, grain sorghum, red clover, wheat and oats.
Board Member Stan Flemming is a retired Brigadier General, Ambassador to the United States Army Reserves, and practices medicine outside Fort Lewis, WA. Ambassador Flemming noted that “FVC fulfills a vital role in the veteran outreach community by providing access to critical services for our men and women who serve our nation with distinction, but who reside in our rural communities where resources are typically scarce or unavailable. They deserve no less than those who reside in our urban communities.”
Other Board Members include:
- Garrett Dwyer, cattle rancher and veteran with the US Marine Corps. Garrett received his degree in Agriculture Production at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture after returning from Iraq and now co-owns and operates a cow/calf operation on the family ranch in Bartlett, Nebraska.
- Dr. Bill Field, Ed.D, Purdue University, Executive Director of the National AgrAbility Project. AgrAbility was formed to help farmers with disabilities succeed in agriculture. Many of its 27 statewide affiliates are working with combat-disabled Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans pursuing careers in farming.
- Kathleen Hadley, Executive Director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and their signature program, ATTRA. ATTRA serves as a national information service for sustainable farming and small-scale farming ventures.
- Tasha M. Hargrove, Ph.D., Assistant to the Dean for Outreach, College of Agriculture, at Tuskegee University, in Alabama. Dr. Hargrove is a Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Agriculture Extension Education and a retired Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force Reserves.
- Weldon Sleight, Ph.D., Dean Emeritus of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA). Dr. Sleight oversaw the school’s 100 Acre/100 Cow and Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots programs, which assists beginning farmers and military veterans with building farm ownership.
About Farmer Veteran Coalition
The mission of the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is to mobilize veterans to feed America. Its farming education programs and charitable projects include a small grants program; a program to collect and distribute used farm equipment; a Resource Guide for Veteran Careers in Agriculture; an annual conference for women veterans in Agriculture; and educational, training and veteran employment assistance programs.
FVC has operated as a project of Community Partners of Los Angeles since 2009 and will continue under the fiscal umbrella of Community Partners until the incorporation process is completed sometime later this year.