Survey Says: Armed to Farm Program Helps Veteran Farmers

Survey Says: Armed to Farm Program Helps Veteran Farmers

About Armed to Farm

Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans developed by the National Center for Appro­priate Technology (NCAT). The program consists of a week-long training that includes a mix of educational classes, farm tours, and hands-on activities at successful livestock, crop, and agritourism operations.

In July 2015 we conducted a follow-up evaluation with the 107 military veterans and spouses who had completed one of four week-long Armed to Farm trainings held between June 2013 and March 2015. We used an online survey to gather information, and had a 70% response rate. The following infographic summarizes some of the evaluation results.

ATF Evaluation Report Infographic 2015

Additional Stats

  • 77% of participants have developed or are cur­rently developing farm goals
  • 82% of respondents reported they learned about sustainable or organic practices at Armed to Farm that they were not previously aware of, and 52% of those indicated they have implemented at least one of those practices on their farm
  • 70% of respondents indicated they have stayed in touch with other participants they met at Armed to Farm
  • 87% of respondents said that attending Armed to Farm helped them accomplish their farm goals

Further Feedback

Participants in the 2014 Arkansas Armed to Farm training.
Participants in the 2014 Arkansas Armed to Farm training.

“The Armed to Farm training solidified our plans to begin a farm, and we are currently preparing a piece of land to begin our opera­tion. Being able to view various farming operations and meet oth­ers already implementing ideas that we had only read about made what seemed a long-off ‘dream’ a very near reality. Armed to Farm was the best thing we have done to gain hands-on experi­ence and network with others as we prepare to pursue our farming dreams and goals.”

“We expanded more quickly as I gained confidence from the workshop. Seeing what the instructors and sample of farms were doing made me realize we could do it!”

“I have implemented more environmentally-friendly practices, such as non-toxic weed control, increased compost production, planted trees, added rain barrels, and stopped using rodenticide. I also sought more training on grazing/pasture management.”

“It was a great experience to meet people with similar work backgrounds (military) who were interested in farming and sustain­able agriculture.”

Future of Armed to Farm

NCAT continues to see a strong demand from veterans who are interested in starting farm operations and are seeking training. We are continually looking for funding and partners to continue offering Armed to Farm.

For more information about the program, visit NCAT’s Armed to Farm page at www.ncat.org/armedtofarm or contact Margo Hale at margoh@ncat.org.

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