The Farm Ops project of the Cornell Small Farms Program provides expertise and community for veterans interested in agriculture across New York State. Connecting veterans with the Armed to Farm conference is often a first step in providing agricultural training and farm tours. If veterans want to make the transition into farming, the Small Farms Program provides a central location to the program with Marine Veteran Dean Koyanagi heading up the Farm Ops program.
Grants, workshops, reduced rates for online classes, regional networking, and other resources all aid veteran farmers throughout the state. A recent article in the Cornell Chronicle tells the stories of several veterans that have benefited from Farm Ops.
Logan Yarbrough, Army veteran, has a 40 acre goat farm in Brooktondale, NY. He knows he made a 30% profit margin after Farm Ops set him up with a free accounting consultation with Tompkins County CCE. Regional networking proved instrumental when from a simple forwarded email came with thousands of dollars of equipment from a retiring goat farmer in the area.
Retired U.S. Army colonel John Lemondes, of Chautauqua County, helped launch the New York chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. This nonprofit assists veterans in land acquisition, financing, and other factors in agricultural operation. Veterans can tap into both the Farmer Veteran Coalition and Cornell Small Farms Program Farm Ops when starting their farm.
Veterans often find farming a satisfying career; a high-risk, ever changing business requiring tough, hands-on labor is often a challenging and rewarding transition. Farm Ops has already trained over 800 veterans in the last three years and offer continuous support to veteran farmers.
In celebration of Veterans Day, a number of other news outlets reported on the work of our Farm Ops program. Read more:
Cornell Farm Ops sets up NYS veterans for success, Cornell Chronicle
See also Oneida Daily Dispatch.
Finding New Farmers, The Highlands Current
Farm Ops program gives veteran farmers a boost, Ithaca.com
Working the Soil, Reconnecting to Life After Service, Spectrum News
Military member mulls farm career, Watertown Daily Times
From Rifles to Radishes: Cornell Program Helps Veterans Farm, Cornell Daily Sun
Program helping veterans transition into farming, Rochester First
See also My Twin Tiers
Cornell Farm Ops program helps vets transition into farming, Local Syracuse