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Virtual conference offered for veterans in agriculture


WEST LAFAYETTE, IN. – The National AgrAbility Project, led by Purdue University’s Breaking New Ground Resource Center, is presenting “Veterans Harvest: A Virtual Conference for Veterans in Agriculture” this summer. The series will convene for five consecutive Tuesdays beginning July 27 from 1-2:30 p.m. ET.

“Agriculture has become an important source of employment and healing for many veterans,” says Cindy Chastain, National AgrAbility’s veteran outreach coordinator. “A large percentage of veterans come from rural areas, even though not all of them grew up on farms. After leaving the military, they discover that working in agriculture fulfills them in ways that other occupations can’t.”

The conference agenda features:

• July 27: Introduction by Cindy Chastain, National AgrAbility Project, and Jeanette Lombardo, Farmer Veteran Coalition, plus “One Veteran's Journey from PTSD to Farmer” by Sarah Creech, Blue Yonder Organic Farm and Indiana Farmer Veteran Coalition.

• Aug. 3: “Celebrating Veteran Total Farmer Health” by Linda Emanuel and Shay Foulk, AgriSafe Network.

• Aug. 10: “Programming for Veterans in Agriculture: How Maine Does It” by Anne Devin, Maine AgrAbility.

• Aug. 17: “Update on USDA's support for Veterans” by Bill Ashton, USDA Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison.

• Aug. 24: “Panel Presentation on State/Regional Programs for Farmer Veterans” moderated by Cindy Chastain, National AgrAbility Project.

Groups involved with the conference include Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) and Indiana AgVets. FVC is a national organization with chapters in Indiana and 23 other states that helps veterans develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. 

Indiana AgVets is a USDA-sponsored agricultural career training program, led by Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corp. in cooperation with Purdue’s Indiana AgrAbility Project, which provides internships and other support for U.S. military veterans in Indiana and surrounding states.

All sessions are free, and registration information is available at www.agrability.org/resources/veterans. Those already registered for the 2021 AgrAbility National Training Workshop Virtual sessions are automatically registered for the veterans’ conference. For more information, contact Paul Jones, manager of the National AgrAbility Project, at agrability@agrability.org or 800-825-4264.