Farming Grants for Veteran Farmers
This article is meant to connect you with existing programs and services available to veterans living in the United States. These programs are an important part of developing the necessary skills to build a successful farming operation and simultaneously address the difficulties veterans face in their transition back to civilian life.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been the subject of political shootouts and mass media frenzy from time immemorial. From homeless veterans to military imposters, and true war heroes that have overcome unimaginable adversity, this is no laughing matter. Above all, we can all agree on is that we should respect the people fighting for our freedom.
Every political campaign seems to attract opposition in the realm of veteran affairs. Further, masses support or despise military efforts, losing focus on the point of it all. Recently, the media has painted a picture of a VA that’s beginning to fulfill its obligations to veterans.
In some states, vets acknowledge that there are many resources available nowadays. Others feel it takes a great deal of persistence to learn about and pursue them to completion. In an effort to help you with the latter side of this dichotomy, we put together a list of grants for veterans that’ll surely come in handy.
1) Vocational agriculture government grants
For those who’d prefer the quieter ways of farming as a post-military career, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has a number of programs which give special preference to veterans.
One specific program is the “Agriculture Innovation Center Program” which provides up to $1,000,000 in funding.
Another program is the “Rural Business Development Grant” which offers support to new and private rural businesses. A veteran must own at least 51% of the business, farming enterprise, or otherwise. Gross revenue must not exceed $1 million dollars to qualify. Possible grant allocations range from as much as $500,000 and as little as $10,000. Applications are due in March each year.
Be sure to visit the USDA website to find out what other resources are available.
2) Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot (RVCP)
The US Veterans Affairs department also provides special grants for those veterans residing in underserved or rural regions across the nation. In other words, money is offered to grantees with the sole purpose of facilitating a seamless transition to civilian life.
Additional Grants for Veterans
Some veterans opt for a simple life of farming. While others struggle to survive and transition back into society. It isn’t always feasible or practical to just “pick up where you left off.” Many veterans have become disabled as a result of the trauma experienced during war. Thus, there are many grant resources to help get back on your feet. Consequently, they can be hard to find, but they’re out there. Many come from private agencies, and VOAG (Vocational Agriculture) centers. This article is a great resource to learn about the various options. Here are a few more:
3) Per Diem program / Homeless Providers Grants
The United States Department of Veteran Affairs pays a number of community agencies to tend to the needs of homeless veterans. These agencies serve veterans by encouraging self-determination and teaching income-generating skills. They also provide supportive housing and related services. There are the primary components of the grant. The Per Diem and Grant aspects of the program roll out yearly or as funding allows.
4) Injury/deployment related grants from the VFW
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is the oldest and largest war veterans’ service organization. On their website, it states that they provide free, professional help filing or appealing a VA claim, scholarships for post-secondary education, and providing emergency financial relief when times get tough. They are known for helping the most veterans in the most significant ways.
Additionally, they have put in place the Unmet Needs program which caters to those veterans battling financial challenges as a result of deployment and/or the injuries thereafter. It’s very sad when a vet has been injured and can no longer provide the lifestyle necessities they require. It’s damaging for them personally, professionally, and places a burden on their families.
Consequently, this is one of the most important resources available to vets.
Grants given by the VFW are more humble, with the average sum being around $1,500. They are awarded to those who meet the qualifications and requirements. One of which includes those who served after September 11, 2001. Please visit the VFW website for more information on grants and the different kinds of assistance they provide.
5) Veterans Cemetery Grants Program
The VA unveiled this program more than four decades ago. This was an effort to relieve some of the pressure the similarly purposed National Cemetery Administration was experiencing. It is aimed at covering burial needs in territories and states where the veteran’s family is unable to provide a proper burial. Gravesites and other funeral customs create undue stress for grieving families, who often have lost their primary protection & provision due to war efforts. This agency is able to cushion the financial implications of affected families, allowing them to grieve without additional financial stress.
There are more resources available to veterans today than there ever before. Therefore, qualifying for and receiving a grant is a lot easier than it once was. Aside from government channels, there are also many non-profit organizations and private companies lending a hand to veterans. Agencies like Fisher House Inc., Asher Family Evergreen Foundation, and the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund Inc. uplift veterans in hopes of reigniting the American spirit these brave souls took into battle.
Veteran Farmer Opportunities By State
Florida is home to more than 1.5 million veterans and considered the most veteran-friendly state in the USA. The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs is the premier touch point for veterans that reside in Florida.
Agriculture is at the top of Florida’s economy, impacting the economy by $120 billion each year and supplying nearly 2 million jobs. The Veterans Florida Agriculture Program (VFAP) is an internship program established to help veterans transition into sustainable careers as farmers. The program provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities that make you competitive in today’s agricultural sector. Veterans receive a $500 per month stipend for six months, in addition to an hourly wage throughout the program. If they choose to enroll in a UF agriculture certificate program, they become eligible for GI Bill funding or VA Vocational Rehabilitation funding.
Each state has a similar agency, specifically dedicated to bettering the lives of our great heroes.
Whether you’re already farming, or desire to work in agriculture in Iowa, this is the perfect resource for getting started. The Veterans in Agriculture website offers a community of farmers, veterans, agri-business professionals, educators, and service providers in the agricultural industry. It’s dedicated to empowering farmer veterans to thrive in Iowa.
They provide guidance to veterans who seek employment in agriculture, as well as veteran entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for experiences, mentors, resources, or opportunities to collaborate, they’re a great community for you.
RURAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development seeks applicants for their annual funding program to benefit the economy of rural Alaska.
Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG) support technical assistance, training, and other activities that lead to the growth and development of rural businesses with less than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenue. Since this is in Alaska, applicants must be non-profits, government entities, and members of federally-recognized tribes. As a result, these grants are harder to qualify for because individuals are not eligible.
However, if you’re a veteran with a non-profit farm or a Native American vet, funding can be allocated toward training other rural entrepreneurs, feasibility and business plans, business support centers, local economic development planning, acquiring or developing land, buildings, plants, and equipment, and more.
Approximately $135,000 is available to Alaskan businesses that qualify in 2019.
In addition, a Native American grant is also available for projects where 75 percent of the project’s benefits benefit members of a federally recognized Tribe.
Additional Resources for Transitioning Military Veterans That Want to Start a Farm