Veteran Farmer Assistance and Outreach Program

Are you a military veteran interested in learning more about farming and getting started in agriculture? The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is able to assist by providing you with access to resources, market development, branding, and technical expertise. Taking the first steps to becoming involved in any agriculture enterprise, including farm ownership, should be examined and planned with the same care as any other form of entrepreneurship.

Many resources are available to help in the decision-making process. To begin creating a framework, some excellent starting-point resources are listed on this page. If you have questions or are ready to explore the next steps, give the Wisconsin Farm Center a call or send us an email: 1-800-942-2474, FarmCenter@wisconsin.gov

Veteran Farmer Assistance and Outreach Program Resources

For Beginning Farmers

Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers
Designed to educate students about pasture-based dairy and livestock farming, the school offers specialized training through traditional classroom activities, hands-on internships, and farm tours of pasture-based farms managed by successful graduates and mentors.

Beginning Farmers
Website offers information on how to start a farm, planning a new farm, funding resources and finding land to start a farm. Information about all areas of farming. Internships and employment opportunities are posted regularly. 

USDA New Farmers
United States Department of Agriculture website offers a wide range of resources for new or beginning farmers, including resources for veterans interested in agricultural programs or careers.

Cornell Small Farms Program
Program helps farmers get expert assistance to facilitate all phases of small farm business development, from initial growth to optimization to maturity. 

Farm Aid Farmer Resource Network
Resource network offered through Farm Aid, the quarter-century-old effort highlighted by the popular music concert, which raises funds, awareness and support for family farms, sustainable agriculture and rural communities.

UW Extension Small Farms
Supports programming for beginning farmers, rural lifestyle farmers, and other small farm operators. The program also partners with outside agencies and related industry groups whose work is focused on the small farm landowner or operator. 

USDA Farm Service Agency
USDA makes and guarantees loans to qualifying beginning farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial lenders. For more information: Farm Service Agency Loans.


Loans/Grants

Department of Veteran's Affairs Home Loan Benefit
May be used to purchase a farm on which there is a farm residence to be owned and occupied by a veteran as his or her primary residence.

Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund
Provides direct assistance in the form of micro-grants to veterans in their beginning years of farming or ranching.  Applications are accepted annually and reviewed by advisors with long careers in the food and farming industry.

 

Training and Education

Registered Apprenticeship Program
Allows veterans to gain farming experience through an apprenticeship approved by the Department of Labor.  Registered apprenticeships feature partnerships with employers to provide on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

Wisconsin Technical College System
Provides customized training and technical educational opportunities for students through its 16 technical colleges located around the state.
Provides livestock, crop, farm management, and family living consultation and information services from county offices throughout the state.

Offers agricultural education programs designed to enable its graduates to assume responsible positions for the future production and distribution of food in the U.S. and the world.

University of Wisconsin-River Falls
The University has earned a reputation for high quality education and service to the people of Wisconsin, offering excellent classroom facilities and teaching laboratories.

 

Research, Career and Business Planning, and Marketing Resources

WisJobsForVets
Job Center of Wisconsin website includes links to employers/resources for veterans seeking new career opportunities.

Center for Rural Affairs Veteran Farmers Project
Offers individual consultations, a HelpLine for resources and support, and a recorded webinar on resources for veterans as new farmers.

Farmer Veteran Coalition
Connects veterans to education, business planning, farming and financing resources.

Homegrown by Heroes
Program includes a logo that can be displayed on products grown, raised and produced by farmer veterans. The logo is open to honorably discharged members with at least 50% veteran ownership and veteran management control.

USDA Veterans in Agriculture
Connects veterans to training opportunities, programs and career resources.  There are USDA Service Centers available across the country to connect veterans with USDA programs.

Armed to Farm: Sustainable Agriculture Training for Military Veterans
Offers technical assistance, online tutorials and sponsorship/scholarship info to related events around the country.

WIVetBiz
Get certified as a Wisconsin veteran-owned business. Find tools and other resources to assist you as a veteran entrepreneur.

 

Finding Land

Farm Service Agency Transition Incentives Program (TIP)
Connects retired or retiring land owners or operators with beginning or social disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.

 

Resources for Veterans with Disabilities              

Agrability (national) and the Wisconsin Agrability (state)
USDA-sponsored program helps eliminate obstacles that inhibit success in production agriculture or agriculture-related occupations. The vision is to enable a high-quality lifestyle for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers with disabilities.

 

Assistance for Veterans with Financial Difficulties

Assistance to Needy Veterans Grant
ANVG program provides limited financial assistance to those in need and who have exhausted all other sources of aid. Grants may be used for specified health care and subsistence needs up to maximum grant limits ($7,500 lifetime; $3,000 annually).

VA Regional Loan Centers
Assistance to those who are having trouble making mortgage payments. This counseling is designed to help avoid foreclosure.  Call 1-877-827-3702 to reach a Loan Service Representative.

Financial Counseling and Will Preparation
Service members interested in financial counseling may contact their Command Financial Specialists or Financial Readiness Counselor. Members may also visit www.militaryonesource.mil or call 800-342-9647 for additional information. Financial counseling and online will preparation services offered here are only for SGLI, VGLI, and FSGLI beneficiaries and service members who have received TSGLI benefits.

VA Center for Veterans Enterprise
Program helps veterans interested in forming or expanding small businesses by assisting them in finding information on how to access VA acquisition opportunities; and helps VA contracting offices identify veteran-owned small businesses. 

Homeless Veterans
Program for Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Multiple services are available.  For a complete listing and to access information, visit the program website.  

For more information

Email questions related to the Wisconsin Veteran Farming Assistance and Outreach Program to: datcpbamf@wisconsin.gov

For more information, contact:

Angie Sullivan
(608) 224-5095
Angie.Sullivan@wisconsin.gov

or

Kietra Olson
(608) 224-5112
kietra.olson@wisconsin.gov


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