Farm Ops

Project Lead: Dean Koyanagi, Nina Saeli

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Welcome to the Farm Ops project page. You can learn about the program, scholarships, events, resources, and training here. To avoid missed opportunities, sign up for the E-Newsletter and check "Farm Ops".

Host a Veteran through On-the-Job Training on YOUR farm!

Project staff are working with the New York Division of Veterans’ Services as well as other state agencies to identify five NY farms that are willing and can be approved to to provide on-the-job training (OJT) opportunities for veterans. Achieving approval for this is not a lengthy process and could allow veterans to access OJT/apprenticeship funds provided by VA/GI benefits. Traditionally, OJT has been focused on trades but this novel strategy will link traditional VA support to agricultural training. If you are a farmer interested in hosting a veteran employee for on-the-job training, please contact us and we will be happy to explain the process to you!

For questions or further details, please check out our handy Veteran Rack Card Or contact Project Coordinator Dean Koyanagi by email, or call 607-255-9911.

This work is supported by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Veteran Scholarships for Educational Workshops and Online Courses

Farm OPS strives to provide access to resources and training events for veterans pursuing careers in agriculture in New York State. With funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, we currently are offering scholarships to veterans and active duty military personnel who attend educational events and workshops. The program currently offers up to $100 in reimbursement on eligible costs for agricultural trainings on a first come, first serve basis, while funds are available. At this time, eligible costs include travel expenses and registration for trainings (i.e. hotel, mileage, event registration).

To learn more about this opportunity, and determine if you are eligible for a scholarship to a specific event, please contact Dean Koyanagi by email or at 607-255-9911.

Should the event be eligible, you will be asked to complete and return a travel reimbursement form, copies of receipts, and an event evaluation form. Please note that reimbursements are based on actual expenses, up to, but not automatically totaling $100. Intensive, several-day training events may be eligible for a higher reimbursement rate.

Through this program the Cornell Small Farms Program is also pleased to offer partial scholarships for military veterans to take our online courses. The courses, normally $250, will be offered to veterans for $125. In order to be eligible a person must be a veteran or active duty military, a resident of New York State, and have plans to begin selling farm products (filing a Schedule F) in the coming year. The course offerings and schedules can be viewed here. If you are eligible and would like to apply for a scholarship, contact Erica.

Registration is limited and will be offered first come, first served. Participants will be asked to complete a targeted survey at the end of the course as well as 6 months from completion, to determine the effect on their operation.

News and Updates

2015 BFLN Meeting – NYS Veterans in Agriculture Program

By Dean Koyanagi | September 8, 2015

October 26th, 2015 – The Century House, Latham, NY This meeting brought together over 50 agriculture and military service providers to network and learn from each other about how to…

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2014 Veterans in Ag Summit

By Dean Koyanagi | November 15, 2014

Veterans in NY Agriculture Summit On November 6th, 2014, the Cornell Small Farms Program hosted the NY Veterans in Agriculture Summit at the NYS State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The Summit was…

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About Farm Ops

Lee Marks Crane, NY

Veterans often encounter unique obstacles when considering entering into farming. There are over 800,000 military veterans in New York State, but they exist in a dispersed population, varying from 3-15% of the total population of each county. Because they do not have a dominant presence in any one location, specialized resources are often lacking, ultimately presenting a high barrier to entering agricultural jobs and further marginalizing these veterans.

Agriculture is not directly supported by Veterans Affairs – veterans cannot use education funds for most farm training and often cannot use vocational training funds for farm-related occupations. In addition, many veterans have unique disabilities (e.g. amputations, PTSD) and training and resources need to include mechanisms to address these issues.

Over the last two years, the Northeast Beginning Farmer Program has begun receiving an increasing number of requests each month from veterans seeking assistance.

To enhance the resources and training available to military veterans interested in farming, we will team with established Veterans groups to:

  • Create a statewide service provider network for organizations to support agriculture training for veterans
  • Implement multiple education strategies to engage and train military/ veterans who want to farm

Dean came to the Small Farms Program in 2015 to work with fellow veterans interested in agriculture. He and his wife have been farming in Ithaca for the past 10 years, and he is excited to share the experience of learning to farm with others. Dean continues to support a statewide effort to work with extension, veteran’s organizations, and our veteran farming community to support veterans in achieving their agricultural goals.

Read Articles by Dean Koyanagi


Shaun joined the Small Farms Program in 2018 shortly after graduating from Cornell University. As the newest addition to the FarmOps team, he works to support both current and future farmer-veteran programming efforts. Shaun’s formal academic background is in Agricultural Science with a concentration in Crop Production and Management. His approach to agronomy combines elements of institutional academia, cultural knowledge, historical wisdom, and technologies of antiquity and bleeding-edge alike, to create lasting agricultural solutions.

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