Extension, CFRA receive grant to provide agricultural opportunities to veteran-farmers

Nebraska City News-Press

Nebraska Extension, in cooperation with Center for Rural Affairs, has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to launch a three-year training program for veterans who are interested or already involved in agriculture.  

Through NIFA’s Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans -- also called AgVets -- program, Nebraska Extension and the Center for Rural Affairs have developed a training program featuring workshops, field demonstrations, business planning and other educational programming led in part by three veteran-owned farms.   Experienced producers from the Barreras Family Farm, Lakehouse Farm and Anchor Meadow Farm, along with other expert resource providers, will share business and production skills for beef, vegetable and pork enterprises.  

“Putting the Pieces Together, A Year in the Life of a Diversified Farm” will provide a unique and focused learning opportunity for prospective active and retired military veteran farmers so that they can start successful farming enterprises of their own,” said Nebraska Extension Educator Katie King. 

Each year from 2021 through 2023 will contain 11 educational opportunities, rotating monthly between online classrooms and on-farm classes to teach the skills. Participants will gain critical knowledge of farm start-ups, learn how to access additional resources and networks, and walk away with a business plan of their own. Classes will follow recommended health and safety precautions, with online alternatives presented for all in-person events.  

“The grant allows the program to be offered at no cost for participants and creates a tight-knit environment to learn the key production and management steps of distinct veteran-owned and operated farm businesses,” said King. 

The schedule for 2021 to 2023 is as follows:  

January  

2021 (online) – Meet the farmer, hear their farm dreams and land access: Cornett family will discuss vegetables  

2022 - Meet the farmer, hear their farm dreams and land access: Barreras family will discuss beef  

2023 - Meet the farmer, hear their farm dreams and land access: Hendl family will discuss pork 

February  

2021 (on farm) – Demonstration: Season starting and seed starting 

2022 – Demonstration: Care for chicks, hatching out versus buying chicks 

2023 – Demonstration: Preparing for pigs, setting your on-farm infrastructure 

March  

2021 (online) through 2023– Holistic goal setting  

April  

2021 (on farm) – Demonstration: Planting in the field and early season field preparation 

2022 – Coop and pasture preparation 

2023 – Piglets: here they come! What to do and how-to problem-solve.  

May  

2021 (online) through 2023 – Enterprise budgeting and use them for USDA programs and record keeping  

June  

2021 (on farm) – Demonstration: Market preparation for farmers market and restaurant sales 

2022 – Demonstration: Collecting, cleaning and packing eggs 

2023 - Demonstration: Weaning piglets, piglet maintenance and breeding for genetics and feed considerations 

July  

2021 (online) through 2023 – Markets: which one is right for you? 

August  

2021 (on farm) – Demonstration: Harvesting and post-harvesting handling 

2022 - Demonstration: Land management and diet considerations 

2023 - Demonstration: Grazing rotations and fencing 

September  

2021 (online) through 2023 – Insurance and legal considerations 

October  

2021 (on farm) - Demonstration: End of season wrap-up, season extension & soil preparation 

2022 - Demonstration: Winter preparation, winter marketing and delivery  

2023 - Demonstration: Winter preparation and butcher day 

November  

2021 (online) through 2023 – Business plan presentation and USDA programs 

December  

No class  

Participation is free for participants who are United States active or retired military veterans with an interest in farming. Registration is required. Contact Erin Schoenberg at erins@cfra.org or 402-499-2781 if interested in more information, signing up, or presenting at one of the online events.