Farming and 2014 Farm Bill Opens Door to New Options for Veterans

Farming and 2014 Farm Bill Opens Door to New Options for Veterans

March 04, 2015

Farming and 2014 Farm Bill Opens Door to New Options for Veterans

Many veterans returning to civilian life struggle with finding a purpose. It can often be a tough transition full of many obstacles and questions.

Will they return to the job force? Will they go to school to get their education? Will they look into starting a small business?

As most Americans following the news know, our veterans struggle with higher rates of homelessness, depression, suicide and divorce.

Now, farming - yes, farming - is giving our military veterans a viable option for putting their lives on the right path.

Veterans Get Financial Help and Support to Begin Farming

Yesterday, we wrote a blog post about a new proposal to help veterans get access to small business loans in order to start their own business. Today, we are happy to report of financial support that is already in place for veterans to start a farming business.

In the 2014 Farm Bill, veterans were designated as a distinct class of beginning farmers in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This first-time designation offers veterans a few opportunities to help them start their own farming business.

They now have low-interest-rate loans to buy equipment and animals. That 2014 Farm Bill also opens the door to grants for building on their farm and access to extra funds when they implement conservation practices on their land.

Farming Changes Life of Iraq War Veteran with PTSD

One veteran who is taking advantage of this new opportunity to go into farming is Iraq War veteran Sara Creech. Creech suffers with PTSD and continuing as a nurse as a civilian was not working for her.

In an article on farming veterans, she told NPR that,"Her depression and anxiety became so severe, she says she felt like she was dangerous to her patients."

She now feels like farming has given her life a sense of purpose.

"I am getting out of bed every day. And I am doing my chores every day. And I am taking care of animals every day. People are relying on me," she says. "I don't know where my life is going to take me, but I feel like I'm on the right path."

If you know of any veterans interested in farming or who are looking for more information on financial options they can use to buy or start a farm, then point them to the Farmer Veteran Coalition or the USDA website.

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