Empowering Veterans to Thrive in Agriculture


soniakendrickSonia Kendrick is a farmer, a veteran, and the founder of Feed Iowa First, a non-profit utilizing unused urban space to grow fresh, local produce for food pantries and and Meals on Wheels in the Cedar Rapids area. While serving in Afghanistan Sonia witnessed what food insecurity looks like. Upon returning home, she was surprised to learn that more than 400,000 of her fellow Iowans are food insecure. Recognizing that food security is critical to national security, Sonia earned a degree in agronomy and founded Feed Iowa First.

Sonia was honored at the White House along with 10 other women veteran industry leaders who have made significant contributions to our nation’s business, public, and community service sectors.

To learn more about the important work Sonia is doing in Iowa at Feed Iowa First.


The Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa is partnering with California FarmLink to put on a free webinar to help you prepare and organize your taxes. The webinar will feature the downloadable Income Tax Organizer, an 18 page document focused on getting farmers ready to complete their taxes using tax preparation software or getting their papers and receipts ready to hand over to an expert.

When: April 3, 2014 at 6:00 PM Central Time

Where: Register Here.

Who:  The webinar and tax organizer will help farmers and ranchers who:

  • want to understand more about what records to keep and how income taxes are calculated;
  • want to keep their bill for tax preparation services low;
  • want to use tax preparation software but are not totally confident the software will do a good job on a farm or ranch business;
  • want help organizing their tax information;
  • are not sure if they want to use a tax preparer or tax preparation software.


NRCS Frost Covered Buffer StripThe USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service recently provided state offices with additional guidance on the National Organic Initiative (NOI), National Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative (NSHTI), the Mississippi River Healthy Watersheds Initiative, the National On-Farm Energy Initiative (NOFEI), and the Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) Initiative. Continue reading

Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey featured as keynote speaker

December 18, 2013. Des Moines, IA. The Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa held its first annual conference December 14, 2013, at Easter Seals Iowa, welcoming more than 80 attendees throughout the state. The conference featured expert agriculture attorneys, accountants, agribusiness professionals, educators, USDA personnel, and other veteran service providers as well as a keynote address from Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Continue reading

Women Farmer MentorsWomen, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN) has announced they are accepting applications for the Harvesting Our Potential(SM) program, which matches aspiring or beginning women farmers with experienced female farmers. Information about the program and how to apply are found below in the WFAN press release.

WFAN is dedicated to linking and empowering women to build food systems and communities that are healthy, just, sustainable, and that promote environmental integrity. Continue reading

Mike Bobst Quote on Role of Bankers Assisting Veteran FarmersThe Iowa Bankers Association newsletter recently featured Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa board member Mike Bobst, Vice-president at First State Bank in Redfield, Iowa.  Mike has been involved in banking since 1984.  Before that he worked in the farm equipment business and spent four years in the U.S. Air Force.  Mike had this to say about the FVC of Iowa and how bankers can play a critical role in assisting veterans interested in agriculture. Continue reading

On Monday, Nov. 18, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Farmer Veteran Coalition Executive Director Michael O’Gorman will host a media call to highlight how local and regional food systems are helping to create new markets for new and beginning farmers, including many veterans.

Secretary Vilsack will discuss the need for Congress to pass a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to support growth in local and regional food systems, a multi-billion dollar market opportunity. Many veterans rely on local and regional food markets to enter agriculture, return to civilian life and support their families. Continue reading

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center has partnered with the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa and several other partners to provide educational workshops, webinars, and conferences to farming veterans in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Further details on events will be released soon, but a one-day conference is scheduled for December 14, 2013 as well as a more extensive conference on July 18 and 19, 2014. Continue reading

Kentucky's Home Grown by Heroes Label

The Homegrown by Heroes label will soon be on shelves across the country.

The Farmer Veteran Coalition has received a license to take the Homegrown by Heroes label national.  The label has been a promotional campaign in Kentucky featuring a logo for veteran produced farm goods since last January. The Homegrown by Heroes label shows a saluting service member with an American flag in the background and allows consumers to provide support directly to farming veterans.

Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, says he hopes “anybody can go into a market of any size and pull something off the shelf and say, ‘That was grown by a military veteran.’”

“We really feel like it’s going to be a tremendous help to the farming careers of the men and women we’ve been working with,” he added. Continue reading

Free Lunch and Learn Series

Time:  Noon to 1 pm. CST


March 3rd  The volatility of grain markets can keep you guessing, but there are tools to help mitigate these risks.  Learn grain marketing basics from a veteran and grain company manager. While this subject can be very extensive, learn the basic terms and how these tools and strategies can help you manage risks due to market fluctuations.


March 10th  Learn about improved tools and opportunities for livestock producers to manage livestock market issues and risk management programs and policies. The webex will also producer decisions and recent changes to the Livestock Risk Protection insurance policy.


March 17th  What are the requirements for Beginning Farmer loans and what information should you have prepared when meeting with an ag loan officer?  Learn these basics and more.  We will also provide information on tax credits to assist beginning farmers and how they can be used with other lenders such as USDA.


March 24th  Do you have a conservation plan?  Conservation planning involves working to address concerns on your land, with a focus on natural systems and ecological processes that sustain resources.  Then a USDA employees will provide information about their programs and services which can help you meet your conservation goals on your farm or farm operation, along with benefits related to farmer veterans.


March 31st Do you have a formal farm business structure, what are the types, or should you even set one up for your operation?  We will explore the options, benefits, and even pitfalls of forming an S-Corp, an LLC and other business structures.  The discussion on legal risks continues learn how these structures impact future planning or transition onto a farm?  We will also discuss the importance of separating enterprises and other topics as you learn to minimize legal risks.


For more Information or register here:   https://bit.ly/veteransinag-webinarseries


Recorded Lunch and Learn Series Links

Did you miss one of our Lunch and Learn Sessions?   They were recorded!  See the missed sessions using this link.