Empowering Veterans to Thrive in Agriculture


August 17, 2016 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, invited a group of 15 beginning farmer-veterans to a roundtable discussion about “Opportunities for Beginning Farmers” at Iowa State University. Veterans in Agriculture had 6 representative in the roundtable discussion: Paul Havran, air-guard recruiter & cow-calf producer in Warren County; Aaron and Dana White, crop and cow-calf producers, Carlisle, Ia.; Todd Dirksen, FSA employee and owner of Dirksen Livestock, LLC. Hampton, Ia.; Jason Kerr, Kerr Blueberry Farm, DeWitt, Ia.; and Ray Meylor, Cherry Glen Learning Farm, Polk City.

As the men and women shared their stories and concerns, several themes stuck out. Here are some of the biggest challenges facing young and beginning farmer-veterans listed. First and foremost mentioned was access to land and capital. Other items listed were: the fact that landlords want to rent to larger well established farmers; it’s hard to compete with the high CRP rates that landlord are opting to go after; not enough USDA/FSA/NRCS etc. employees and that some are lacking the knowledgeable about all the programs that are available; even though the water quality issue is very important, beginning farmers can’t afford to expense of long-term mitigation; and trouble finding a local meat processing facility that could meet the regulations required to process their home raised products.

The Secretary announced to the meeting a new investment of $17.6 million for 37 projects to help educate, mentor, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers and ranchers for continued support.

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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.