Empowering Veterans to Thrive in Agriculture

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.

Eric Lampe of Cedar Rapids is an Army veteran and grew up on a farm. He has plenty of knowledge about the industry and attended the conference to learn more about land acquisition and accounting strategies for starting his own operation.

Martin Mudock of Woodbine been growing corn and soybeans for three years and said he a lot of new information was presented at the conference. “I’m active Army but have never taken advantage of the veteran benefits available for me.”

Marian Hyde from Marshalltown is an Army National Guard veteran who recently purchased more than eight acres of land for organic farming with her family.  She appreciated learning about programs available for women veterans. “Many times men are recognized as farmers but women are also an integral part. I like the programs being developed for women and the recognition of their contributions. Women need programs just as men to adjust and reassimilate to society after service.”

Staff Attorney at Drake Agricultural Law Center and Chair of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa Ed Cox says, “We were overwhelmed with the positive response to the conference and honored to provide resources for our veterans exploring and returning to farming and other agricultural careers after service.”

Funds for the Conference were provided by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Partners supporting the event include Drake Agricultural Law Center, Easter Seals Iowa, Iowa Agricultural Development Division, Beginning Farmer Center, First State Bank, USDA, Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency.

The Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa empowers veterans to thrive in Iowa agriculture.  It assists military veterans to develop, grow and succeed as Iowa’s next generation of farmers and agribusiness leaders; connects military veterans with resources and networks of information, programs, and organizations to help them transition to agricultural careers; identifies collaborations and resources between agribusiness, farming, education and military communities and promotes opportunities for all military veterans in all sectors of Iowa’s agricultural economy. www.iowafarmerveteran.org

Easter Seals Iowa provides exceptional services to ensure all people with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. Easter Seals Rural Solutions program serves Iowa farmers with disabilities by working with families to identify possible modifications that will assist with farming. This unique service is not available through any other entity in Iowa. www.eastersealsia.org.

Drake Agricultural Law Center Founded in 1983, the Drake Agricultural Law Center is internationally recognized for providing opportunities to study how the legal system shapes our food system and influences the ability of the agricultural sector to produce, market and utilize agricultural products.  The Drake Law School supports an array of courses, publications, conferences, and research initiatives and created a certification program in food and agricultural law. http://www.law.drake.edu/academics/agLaw/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *