The Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa will host its first annual conference December 14, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Easter Seals Iowa, 401 NE 66th Ave., Des Moines, IA. The conference features 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. Veteran farmers and professionals working with veteran farmers are encouraged to attend. Registration is free but seating is limited; learn more at www.iowafarmerveteran.org
The Drake Agricultural Law Center is partnering with the Farmer Veteran Coalition to help organize the event and provide educational material to the veterans on a number of legal issues faced by beginning farmers. Staff Attorney at the Drake Agricultural Law Center and Chair of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa Ed Cox says, “This conference is a first for Iowa and a real resource for our veterans exploring and returning to farming and other agricultural careers after service. More than forty percent of veterans are from rural areas and young returning veterans face a higher unemployment rate than the civilian sector. Our goal is to connect veterans with farming and meaningful agricultural employment.”
Presentations and workshops at the conference include: maximizing veteran and ag programs for farming; legal and tax issues; education for careers in Iowa agriculture; translating military skills to ag jobs; alternative land access and talking to landowners; business development and talking to lenders; hot ag careers in the next decade; marketing opportunities; and a session featuring a current farmer veteran. There will also be opportunities to meet and network with other veterans. A meal provided will include products raised by veteran farmers.
Tracy Keninger, Director of Rural Solutions and the Assistive Technology Center at Easter Seals Iowa, says, “Easter Seals Iowa is pleased to host this conference as we have a long history of supporting veterans and farmers in Iowa communities.”
Funds for this project have been provided by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Partners supporting the event include Drake Agricultural Law Center, Easter Seals Iowa, Iowa Agricultural Development Division, ISU’s Beginning Farmer Center, First State Bank, and USDA.
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.