Armed to Farm: Sustainable Agriculture Training For Military Veterans

What is Armed to Farm?

Armed to Farm is Sustainable Agriculture Training For Military Veterans
Learn more about current opportunities, technical assistance, and online tutorials.

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Note: NCAT's Armed to Farm information is also available in PDF format for easy printing and sharing. Thank you!

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Veteran Resources

How Can NCAT Help You?

Farmers and ranchers are looking for reliable information on sustainable and organic agriculture, on how to get started in farming, on how to qualify for government programs that reward land stewardship and resource conservation, and on how to pursue such profitable niche markets as organic meats and grains or agriculture tourism. The answers to these and many other similar questions are available free from an NCAT program called ATTRA - Sustainable Agriculture.



Current Opportunities

  • There are no scheduled ATF Events scheduled in the near future, but please check back often as more events will be offered in 2018
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Publications

ATTRA publications cover a wide range of topics, including:


Visit www.attra.ncat.org to view a complete list of our publications. Most are available to download in PDF format.


Tutorials

ATTRA offers free, online self-instruction courses to help beginning farmers and producers who want to diversify their operations or expand their markets. The courses include a variety of educational tools such as worksheets, narrated PowerPoint presentations, videos, and tip sheets.

 

Technical Assistance

ATTRA's friendly staff members are knowledgeable about livestock, horticulture, agronomy, organic farming, marketing, farm energy, and many other sustainable agriculture topics, and are available to provide free assistance. ATTRA offers several ways producers can contact an agriculture specialist, who will research questions and send the client a report, including sources of more information.

 

Website

In addition to over 300 publications, ATTRA's website contains webinars, videos, searchable databases, plus tools to keep you up-to-date on what's happening in sustainable agriculture:


What participants say about Armed to Farm training:

"This was one of the best workshops, if not the best, in any field I have been involved in. It was a great mix of hands-on and classroom instruction. The instructors were very experienced and knowledgeable."

"As a Wounded Warrior Project Alumni, two-time Iraq veteran, and beginning farmer I can, without hesitation, recommend the Armed to Farm program to any veteran seeking knowledge in a wide variety of agricultural topics."

"Thank you! I feel that this program has changed the way we will farm in the future."

Ann with goat Participants in the Armed to Farm training held in Jackson, Miss., Sept. 22-26, 2014.

What is Armed to Farm?

Armed to Farm is Sustainable Agriculture Training for Military Veterans.

NCAT has been involved in targeted veteran outreach and assistance since 2010. NCAT agriculture specialists have hosted and been involved in at least 17 veteran focused trainings, reaching over 800 veterans across the US.

NCAT has partnered with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Farmer Veteran Coalition, University of Arkansas, Growing Warriors, and other sustainable agriculture organizations to train veterans interested in sustainable agriculture careers.

The goals of Armed to Farm are:

  • To train veterans and their partners to operate sustainable crop and livestock enterprises
  • To create a network of veterans and their families who are starting careers in sustainable agriculture
  • To provide technical assistance to participants as they start and improve their farming operations

Trainings range in length from conference presentations, two-day workshops, and week-long training events. The multi-day programs include a mix of educational classes— covering topics such as risk management, business planning, and marketing—and hands-on activities at successful livestock, crop, and agritourism operations.

NCAT Sustainable Agriculture specialists will teach the training sessions. Additional contributors will include staff from the University of Arkansas, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and experienced crop and livestock producers.

Contact Margo Hale at 479-442-9824 or margoh@ncat.org for more information about Armed to Farm

Please note:

  • Attendees are responsible for their travel to and from the event. Please let us know if travel cost is an issue.
  • Space is limited and NCAT reserves the right to select those people it deems would benefit most by this event.

Partners:

 

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Funding for Armed to Farm has come from NCAT's ATTRA - Sustainable Agriculture program, USDA Rural Business Cooperative Services, USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, projects with the University of Arkansas and Cornell University, USDA Risk Management Agency and Swords to Plowshares.

 


 

Armed to Farm News

Meeting with a Mission: Helping Veterans Succeed in Agriculture

Meeting with a Mission: Helping Veterans Succeed in Agriculture

NCAT Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale and Armed to Farm Coordinator Robyn Metzger recently traveled to Kansas City for the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) Stakeholders Conference. Following is their report on the trip.

From November 14-17, we joined hundreds of farmer-veterans, representatives from government agencies, and other support organizations at the FVC Stakeholders Conference. These three days of educational sessions, panel discussions, and networking focused on helping veterans succeed in whatever agriculture venture they want to pursue.

Our booth in the exhibit hall stayed busy! We talked with attendees about NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program resources and about Armed to Farm, NCAT’s sustainable agriculture training for military veterans. We met veterans from around the country who are interested in farming or who have started their own farms. Several have started farms as a way to teach their fellow veterans about agriculture and as a way to help them heal from physical, mental, and emotional wounds. It was a privilege to meet and learn from all of the veterans. Their passion and drive to succeed as farmers and to give back to their communities is inspiring.

Information Exchange

We enjoyed talking with colleagues from AgrAbility, North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), Rodale Institute, and Farm Credit. It was great to see our former NCAT coworker Marisa Alcorta, who now serves as California Farm Academy Apprenticeship Program Manager with the Center for Land-Based Learning. We appreciated the chance to talk with Brent Elrod of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Representatives from other USDA agencies such as the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also shared information. It was exciting to learn more about all the programs around the country and discover opportunities for collaboration.

We were also grateful to meet Bill Ashton, USDA Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison. He took time to speak with us about ways that NCAT and USDA can continue to work together to support farmer veterans.

Impromptu Armed to Farm Reunion

Group photo of veterans and staff at NCAT exhibit hall booth.
A great group! A few of the Armed to Farm alumni who were at the conference are missing from the photo—we’ll get them next time!

One of the best aspects of the trip was seeing the Armed to Farm alumni who were there. We got to catch up with 12 alumni who have attended Armed to Farm trainings over the past five years. It was fun to reconnect with them and introduce them to each other. We even remembered to take a few photos! We were thrilled to see Armed to Farm alumni Sara Creech, of Blue Yonder Organic Farm, and Lovay Wallace-Singleton, of Veterans Employment Base Camp and Organic Garden, speak as part of panel discussion sessions during the conference.

The conference schedule was packed with activities. Between the exhibit hall, plenary sessions, breakout sessions, and group meals (which were very tasty!) we were engaged from early morning to late evening. Although the days were long, we came away from the conference encouraged and energized to continue this shared mission of helping veterans achieve their agriculture goals.

For More Information

Many thanks to Michael O’Gorman and the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) team for hosting this great conference! For more information about the FVC, visit farmvetco.org.

Find free resources from ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture—including publications, podcasts, videos, tutorials, and more—at attra.ncat.org. Contact our sustainable agriculture specialists for free technical assistance at 1-800-346-9140 or askanag@ncat.org.

Visit ncat.org/armedtofarm for more information about NCAT’s Armed to Farm program.

NCAT Southeast is on Facebook! Follow us at https://www.facebook.com/NCATSoutheast/ for updates on our activities, event announcements, and links to resources.

A look back at the California Armed to Farm 2018

We finally did it! We brought NCAT’s Armed to Farm (ATF) training to California. The first California Armed to Farm training was host to 27 individual beginning farmers representing all branches of the military. Some came from as far away as Arizona and Washington in their efforts to bridge the gap between the military service… Continue Reading

Applications Open for Armed to Urban Farm in Washington, D.C.

Applications Open for Armed to Urban Farm in Washington, D.C.

In partnership with the United States Botanic Garden (USBG), NCAT is bringing the week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) training to Washington, D.C., for a special event focused on urban farming. Armed to Urban Farm will give veterans an opportunity to see sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and learn about urban farming as a viable career.… Continue Reading

Applications Available for Armed to Farm in New Hampshire

Applications Available for Armed to Farm in New Hampshire

Deadline to Apply is April 27 The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is bringing its Armed to Farm training to New Hampshire. Armed to Farm gives military veterans an opportunity to learn about transitioning to a farming life. Armed to Farm combines engaging classroom sessions with farm tours and hands-on activities. Participants learn about… Continue Reading

Applications Available for Armed to Farm in California

Applications Available for Armed to Farm in California

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is bringing the week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) training to California for the first time. ATF gives veterans an opportunity to see sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and examine farming as a viable career. ATF combines engaging classroom sessions with farm tours and hands-on activities. Participants learn about… Continue Reading

Veteran Scholarships Available for Sustainable Ag Conference

Veteran Scholarships Available for Sustainable Ag Conference

Annual Southern SAWG conference focuses on practical advice for farmers. Limited scholarships are available for military veterans who would like to attend Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s (SAWG) annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference. Learn more → Continue Reading

WABI News Featured Maine Armed to Farm

WABI News Featured Maine Armed to Farm

Read the original story and see the video here. Story by Alyssa Thurlow of WABI. MONROE, Maine (WABI) “We have a saying in our family, better be lucky than good because we didn’t know half of what Maine does for it’s farmers.” From the military to farming, you could say the owners of Chase Stream… Continue Reading

NCAT Offering October Armed to Farm Veteran Training in Montana

NCAT Offering October Armed to Farm Veteran Training in Montana

Please Note: Applications are no longer being accepted. The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is now accepting applications from military veterans who want to attend our week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) Training. ATF allows veterans and their spouses to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore agriculture as a viable career. ATF’s engaging… Continue Reading

Arkansas Armed to Farm Trains 30 Veterans

Arkansas Armed to Farm Trains 30 Veterans

We recently trained our largest Armed to Farm class since the program began in 2013: 30 veterans from 15 states spent June 12-16 in Fayetteville, AR, learning about small-scale sustainable farming. If you’ve ever wondered exactly what we do all week, check out our detailed recap below! Monday: We spent the morning in the classroom,… Continue Reading