Tag Archive for: Armed to Farm

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is teaming up with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union to bring NCAT’s free Armed to Farm training to Colorado for the first time. Armed to Farm will take place August 29-September 2, 2022, in Boulder. Farmer-veterans will attend classroom sessions and travel to local farms for free hands-on learning experiences.

Armed to Farm trainings include an engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on activities, and interactive classroom instruction. NCAT Sustainable Agriculture specialists will lead the sessions. Staff from USDA agencies and experienced crop and livestock producers will provide additional instruction.

“We’re eager to bring Armed to Farm back to the West, and to train in Colorado for the first time,” said Armed to Farm Program Director Margo Hale. “Armed to Farm has served more than 900 veterans across the country as they start or grow their own sustainable farm business.”  

Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. NCAT, a national nonprofit organization based in Butte, Montana, developed Armed to Farm in 2013 through a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. Farmer veterans learn how to make a business plan and market their products, how to access USDA programs, set business goals, and develop mentorships with seasoned farmers.

Armed to Farm blew me away,” said Patrick Conrey, Armed to Farm alum and General Manager of the Oil Barn in Berthoud, Colorado. “Two years into my own agricultural business and I still reflect on the immersive experience as a highlight. The combination of in-field and in-class activities kept me engaged and paved the way. I would highly recommend the program to any veteran who is looking to turn their passion into a successful business.”

This training is for military veterans in the West. The number of participants will be limited. Spouses or farm partners are welcome to attend with a veteran but must submit a separate application.

Click HERE to apply by July 15. NCAT will notify selected participants by July 22.

NCAT and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union are partnering to host this Armed to Farm event. This work is supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservations Service and the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. Successful applicants may also receive a travel stipend thanks to our partnership with California-based Ranchin’ Vets.

Learn more about NCAT’s Armed to Farm and additional training series at ARMEDTOFARM.ORG.

 

 

 

Sara Creech, an Air Force veteran, has been farming in Indiana since 2012, and says she knew from the beginning that she wanted her farm to be certified organic. She’s one of more than 350,000 veteran or active-duty service members involved in farming in the United States. She’s also one of more than 800 farmer veterans who have completed the Armed to Farm training program first launched in 2013 through a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. Armed to Farm is funded in part by ATTRA. 

Although Creech had no farming experience when she moved to her place back in 2012, you would never guess it seeing her farm today. We visited Sara’s operation, Blue Yonder Organic Farm. With help from Creech, along with the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Indiana and AgrAbility, we hosted an Armed to Farm training in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 2019. We spent a sunny May afternoon with a group of some 20 veterans touring Creech’s farm and learning from her experiences. 

Blue Yonder Organic Farm is a picturesque 43-acre diversified farm about an hour west of Indianapolis. Creech produces certified organic chicken, beef, and lamb, as well as certified organic vegetables. In addition, she sells eggs, honey, mushrooms, and maple syrup. She sells her products through farmers markets and some contract growing. 

It is inspiring to have watched Creech progress from a beginning farmer in 2013 when she attended our very first Armed to Farm training in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to a successful farmer and seasoned mentor teaching a new cohort of farmer veterans. And Creech is just one of many Armed to Farm alumni finding and sharing their passion and purpose in farming. As agriculture educators, we really couldn’t ask for more. 

“The Armed to Farm program is THE reason I was able to get started in farming. The opportunity to connect with other veterans and support each other’s dreams was life changing,” Creech said. “The education and support from NCAT/ATTRA guided me through starting a profitable farm that fuels my new–found passion for farming.”

Learn more about Creech in this archived Voices from the Field podcast episode, Veterans Discuss USDA Programs.

Alvina Maynard likes to say she didn’t seek out alpaca ranching, rather it found her. Maynard is a military veteran in Richmond, Kentucky. It was during a hotel stay while she was still with the Air Force that she saw a commercial about alpacas being farmed as livestock. And the rest is history.  

Today, Maynard and her family operate River Hill Ranch. “We grow clothes,” she says. River Hill has evolved into a greater mission of regenerative agriculture and education. Not only is she growing clothes but she has also developed children’s educational programs and an agritourism operation. River Hill Ranch is selling their Kentucky-grown, American-made alpaca sweaters, socks, and hats at the Lexington Farmers Market, through an online store, and in an on-site gift shop. For Maynard, being part of the resurgence in American-made sustainable manufacturing is a big deal. “Our value-added manufacturing happens within a 400-mile radius of our farm. All our products are grown regeneratively, and manufactured using sustainable methods right here in the U.S.”  

Alvina Maynard River Hill Ranch 2Maynard says when she set out to launch her alpaca farm, she had no idea of the sustainable agriculture resources and farmer-veteran community that already existed. “When I came on to my land, it wasn’t in great shape,” she says. “I overgrazed my fields when I first started. I didn’t know how to manage ruminants correctly. ATTRA gave me the tools I needed to be able to do that. Not only did my land rebound, but the forage production per acre has at least doubled if not tripled because of the resources ATTRA empowered me with. I am now able to grow much more with less.”  

Maynard credits ATTRA and our sustainable agriculture experts who’ve provided the alpaca industry with technical assistance with changing the industry for the better. “ATTRA influenced a whole livestock industry in the U.S. to rethink how they were managing their livestock in a way that regenerates the soil.” 

Maynard was recently a guest on ATTRA’s podcast series, Voices from the Field. Give it a listen!

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is partnering with Appalachian State University’s Frontline to Farm program to bring the free Armed to Farm training to North Carolina for the first time. Armed to Farm will take place July 25-29, 2022, at the Appalachian State University campus in Boone. Farmer-veterans will attend classroom sessions and travel to local farms for hands-on learning experiences.

Armed to Farm trainings include an engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on activities, and interactive classroom instruction. NCAT Sustainable Agriculture specialists will teach the training sessions, along with staff from Appalachian State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension. USDA agencies and experienced crop and livestock producers will provide additional instruction.

“We’re eager to bring Armed to Farm to North Carolina,” said NCAT Armed to Farm Program Director Margo Hale. “Armed to Farm has served more than 800 veterans in all corners of the country as they start or grow their own sustainable farm business.”  

Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. NCAT, a national nonprofit organization based in Butte, Montana, developed Armed to Farm in 2013 through a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. Farmer veterans learn how to make a business plan and market their products, how to access USDA programs, set business goals, and develop mentorships with seasoned farmers.

“The High Country of North Carolina is a beautiful farming community with great partnerships among the university, cooperative extension, local farmers and nonprofit organizations,” said Dr. Anne Fanatico, Co-Director of Frontline to Farm. “Together we build community for resilience in food systems.”

This training is for military veterans in the Southeast. The number of participants will be limited. Spouses or farm partners are welcome to attend with a veteran but must submit a separate application.

Click HERE to apply by June 10. NCAT will notify selected participants by June 17.

Armed to Farm North Carolina is supported by BFRDP grant 2020-49400-32401 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Successful applicants may also receive a travel stipend thanks to our partnership with California-based Ranchin’ Vets.

Learn more about NCAT’s Armed to Farm and additional training series at ARMEDTOFARM.ORG.

 

THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources since 1976. Headquartered in Butte, Montana, NCAT has field offices in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Learn more and become a friend of NCAT at NCAT.ORG

FRONTLINE TO FARM, a program sponsored by Appalachian State University’s Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development and Department of Communication, helps military veterans and beginning farmers get started in sustainable farming as a livelihood. We support practices that raise healthy food, mitigate climate change and build community, while providing support and reconnection for those who have served. The work of Frontline to Farm is supported by our flagship project Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program 2020-49400-32401 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Learn more at frontlinetofarm.appstate.edu.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is bringing its free Armed to Farm training back to the Hill Country, after hosting a 2015 training in Castroville, Texas. Armed to Farm will take place May 16-20, 2022, in Fredericksburg. Farmer-veterans will attend classroom sessions and travel to local farms for hands-on learning experiences. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 8.

Armed to Farm trainings include an engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on activities, and interactive classroom instruction. NCAT Sustainable Agriculture specialists will teach the sessions. Staff from USDA agencies and experienced crop and livestock producers will provide additional instruction.

“We’re eager to bring Armed to Farm back to the Lone Star State,” said Armed to Farm Program Director Margo Hale. “Armed to Farm has served more than 800 veterans in all corners of the country as they start or grow their own sustainable farm business.”  

Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. NCAT, a national nonprofit organization based in Butte, Montana, developed Armed to Farm in 2013 through a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. Farmer veterans learn how to make a business plan and market their products, how to access USDA programs, set business goals, and develop mentorships with seasoned farmers.

“The education that I received has been invaluable for the launching and development of our family farm, Mind Your Garden Urban Farm,” said Armed to Farm alumnus Steven Nuñez, who farms with his family in Fort Worth. “The NCAT staff were truly knowledgeable and always willing to help and answer questions. The three most helpful takeaways for me were learning of the many resources available for veterans interested in a career in agriculture, the importance of diversifying income streams for the farm operation, and most importantly, understanding how crucial it is to cultivate a new generation of farmers to carry on the service to our country that our aging farmers have provided for decades.”

This training is for military veterans in Southwest. The number of participants will be limited. Spouses or farm partners are welcome to attend with a veteran but must submit a separate application.

Click HERE to apply by April 8. NCAT will notify selected participants by April 15.

Armed to Farm Texas is supported by funding from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. Successful applicants may also receive a travel stipend thanks to our partnership with California-based Ranchin’ Vets.

Learn more about NCAT’s Armed to Farm and additional training series at ARMEDTOFARM.ORG.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is bringing its free Armed to Farm training to southern California for the first time, after hosting a 2018 training in Davis, Calif. Armed to Farm will take place April 18-22, 2022, in San Diego. West Coast farmer-veterans will attend classroom sessions and travel to local farms for hands-on learning experiences.

Armed to Farm trainings include an engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on activities, and interactive classroom instruction. NCAT Sustainable Agriculture specialists will teach the sessions. Staff from USDA agencies and experienced crop and livestock producers will provide additional instruction.

“We’re eager to bring Armed to Farm back to the Golden State,” said NCAT Southeast Regional and Armed to Farm Program Director Margo Hale. “Armed to Farm has served more than 800 veterans in all corners of the country as they start or grow their own sustainable farm business.”  

Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. NCAT, a national nonprofit organization based in Butte, Montana, developed Armed to Farm in 2013 through a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. Farmer veterans learn how to make a business plan and market their products, how to access USDA programs, set business goals, and develop mentorships with seasoned farmers.

This training is for military veterans in the West. The number of participants will be limited. Spouses or farm partners are welcome as well but must submit a separate application.

Click HERE to apply by March 4. NCAT will notify selected participants by March 11.

Armed to Farm California is supported by funding from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture AgVets program. Successful applications may also receive a travel stipend thanks to our partnership with California-based Ranchin’ Vets.

Learn more about NCAT’s Armed to Farm and additional training series at ARMEDTOFARM.ORG.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will bring its Armed to Farm training back to California this spring. Veterans who want to attend the week-long training in San Diego can apply online now.

Armed to Farm gives veterans and their spouses the opportunity to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore career opportunities in agriculture. At Armed to Farm, participants learn about business planning, budgeting, recordkeeping, marketing, USDA programs, livestock production, fruit and vegetable production, and more. Participants gain a strong foundation in the basic principles of operating a sustainable farm. In addition, Armed to Farm attendees join a nationwide network of supportive farmer-veterans and agricultural advisors.

Armed to Farm trainings include an engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on activities, and interactive classroom instruction. NCAT Sustainable Agriculture specialists will teach the training sessions. Staff from USDA agencies and experienced crop and livestock producers will provide additional instruction.

Applications are available here and are due by March 4, 2022.

Veterans from Western states will receive selection priority for this training. The number of participants will be limited. NCAT will notify selected participants by March 11. Spouses or farm partners are welcome as well but must submit a separate application.

Dates, Location, and Cost

Armed to Farm will take place April 18-22 in San Diego, California. Participants will attend classroom sessions and travel to local farms for hands-on learning experiences.

The event is free for those chosen to attend; lodging, transportation to local farms, and most meals will be provided. Participants must pay their own travel costs to and from the event, but travel scholarships are available through a partnership with Ranchin’ Vets.

NCAT reserves the right to postpone this event if necessary due to COVID-19. Attendees must have received COVID-19 vaccinations, including a booster shot, and must provide a copy of their vaccination card.

Sponsors

NCAT is organizing and hosting this Armed to Farm event with support from USDA NRCS, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, and USDA NIFA’s AgVets program.

Questions?

Please contact Rex Dufour at rexd@ncat.org or 530-792-7338.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is partnering with Holistic Management International (HMI) to bring its Armed to Farm training to the Southwest. Armed to Farm will take place March 28-April 1, 2022, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Participants will attend classroom sessions and travel to local farms for hands-on learning experiences.

Armed to Farm trainings include an engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on activities, and interactive classroom instruction. NCAT Sustainable Agriculture specialists will teach the training sessions. Staff from HMI, USDA agencies, and experienced crop and livestock producers will provide additional instruction.

This training is for military veterans in the Southwest, with preference given to those in New Mexico. The number of participants will be limited. Spouses or farm partners are welcome as well but must submit a separate application.

Click HERE to apply by February 11. NCAT will notify selected participants by February 18.

Sponsors

NCAT is organizing and hosting this Armed to Farm event in partnership with Holistic Management International. Funding is provided by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

Questions?

Please contact Margo Hale at margoh@ncat.org or 479-442-9824.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and Ranchin’ Vets have teamed up to offer a new level of support for military veterans interested in sustainable agriculture training opportunities. Ranchin’ Vets will fund a one-time transportation stipend directly to veterans selected to participate in NCAT’s Armed to Farm training program.

Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. NCAT manages the program with support from a variety of funding sources, including a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. Since launching in 2013, Armed to Farm has supported more than 800 farmer veterans from 45 states with hands-on and classroom learning opportunities. Farmer veterans learn how to make a business plan and market their products, how to access USDA programs, set business goals, and develop mentorships with seasoned farmers.

Armed to Farm has always been free for veterans and their spouses or farm partners to attend. NCAT covers the cost of lodging, most meals, and local transportation during the training. However, attendees have always been responsible for getting themselves to the training site, which could require long drives across several states or even airfare.

“We want everyone who is accepted into the Armed to Farm program to be able to participate, so we are excited to partner with Ranchin’ Vets to open this opportunity to even more farmer veterans,” said Margo Hale, Armed to Farm Program Director. “Although the training itself is free, the cost of traveling to the training can be substantial and has been a barrier to veterans attending Armed to Farm in the past. We’re very thankful for this opportunity to offer another level of support to the farmer veterans who attend Armed to Farm.”

Ranchin’ Vets, a California based 501 c (3) nonprofit organization founded in 2014, serves veterans on a national level, with a mission to assist in the reintegration of veterans from military to civilian life through a variety of programs offered within the ranching and agricultural industry.

The Ranchin’ Vets Operation Hire A Vet Program connects veterans with opportunities within the agricultural industry. Veterans in the program who need additional support receive a temporary stipend towards transportation, housing and clothing as they pursue agricultural opportunities.

“Through our Operation Hire A Vet Program, we recognized the need for a training program that will equip veterans with the tools they need to be successful in their agricultural endeavors. This partnership with Armed to Farm is an incredible opportunity to work together to assure that all veterans who are interested in pursuing this path will have access to resources that will help them thrive,” said Corey Downs, Ranchin’ Vets Program Director. “Our programs go hand-in-hand, providing veterans with fully funded access to professional agricultural training, as well as assistance in seeking and obtaining agricultural employment. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with Armed to Farm.”  

The travel stipends will be available starting with the next Armed to Farm training, scheduled for Dec. 1-3, 2021, in Athens, Georgia. For Armed to Farm participants to receive a transportation stipend, they must successfully register with Ranchin’ Vets.

For more information about Ranchin’ Vets, visit ranchinvets.org. See ARMEDTOFARM.ORG for more about NCAT’s Armed to Farm program.

By Robyn Metzger, Armed to Farm Coordinator

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has launched a new website for its farmer veteran training program, Armed to Farm. The site, ARMEDTOFARM.ORG, features program news, promotes upcoming training opportunities, and connects alumni with sustainable agriculture resources and other farmer veterans.  

NCAT developed the first Armed to Farm training in 2013 through a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Project with the University of Arkansas. The program has expanded over the past eight years with support from a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. The program has helped more than 800 veterans, and their spouses or farm partners, from 45 states. 

Visitors to the new Armed to Farm website will find a calendar of events that highlights not only NCAT-sponsored events, but also veteran-focused educational opportunities offered by other organizations around the country.  

The Join Our Network section provides options for staying in touch with the Armed to Farm team and fellow farmer veterans, including sign-up forms for email news and the Veterans in Agriculture Listserv. Visit the News page to find details on upcoming training events, post-training recaps, and spotlights on Armed to Farm alumni. We love to hear and share alumni stories!  

Speaking of alumni stories, be sure to check out the About page to view a short video starring three alumni and their farms. They share their experiences with the program and how it helped them as they started out. While you’re on that page, you can meet the five NCAT staff members who make up the core Armed to Farm team.  

If you have any questions about Armed to Farm or other farmer veteran resources, feel free to contact any of the team members. We are here to help!  

We have at least 20 Armed to Farm events lined up for the next three to four years, and planning is already underway for Spring 2022 events in California, New Mexico, and Texas. Visit ARMEDTOFARM.ORG today to sign up to receive email alerts when the event application periods open!