Courtesy of Congressman Jimmy Panetta’s office:
Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) cosponsored the Veteran Empowerment and Training to Facilitate Agricultural Revitalization and Mobilization Act (VET-2-FARM Act) of 2018 in the U.S. House of Representatives. By ensuring that all veterans are eligible for support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and enabling community partners to work with veterans interested in agriculture, this legislation will help veterans earn jobs in agriculture following their military service.
The average age of the American farmer stands at 58 years old, and U.S. agriculture is in dire need of a new generation of farmers. Service members departing active service and veterans are an under-tapped population when it comes to feeding, fueling, and clothing the world, and their service in uniform makes them uniquely prepared to carry out the hard work it takes to be a farmer.
“This bill is a step forward in continuing our commitment to veterans who have bravely served our nation,” said Congressman Panetta. “The central coast of California is home to a large veteran population and a thriving agriculture industry. This legislation seeks to give veterans more opportunity as they transition out of the military and begin productive careers as farmers and ranchers in our communities.”
“It has long been one of my priorities to ensure that our veterans are finding careers that utilize their skills, support their families, and let them feel passionate about what they do,” Congressman Walz, author of the bill, said. “Creating a next generation of farmers that is able to provide the U.S. and the world with a safe, abundant food supply is another one of my priorities. Through the VET-2-FARM Act, we can work towards both of those goals by providing veterans with the training and tools they need to start farms of their own.”
VET-2-FARM Act is supported by Veterans of Foreign Wars. “The VFW strongly supports this effort to expand job opportunities in the agriculture field for veterans,” said Carlos Fuentes, the Legislative Director for Veterans of Foreign Wars. “Collaboration between different Departments in the government is an excellent idea and long overdue. Using this information sharing initiative to promote jobs and apprenticeships for veterans is a great plan that will hopefully result in them attaining meaningful careers in agriculture, farming or ranching.”
The VET-2-FARM Act will invest in veterans who dream of farming by:
- Providing veterans with easy access to information about available jobs in agriculture by coordinating between several agencies
- Making information about apprenticeships, job training, education, and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) available to veterans through a USDA website
- Making risk management tools more affordable and accessible for farmer veterans
- Improving access to loans and land for veterans starting and expanding their farms
- Prioritizing veteran farmers in training and education programs to help them start and expand their businesses
To learn more about the critical tools the VET-2-FARM Act will provide to our veterans interested in starting a career in agriculture, please click here for an overview and click here for the bill text.