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New Support for Veterans and Advanced Beginning Farmers

planting a tomato seedlingThe Cornell Small Farms Program is excited to announce that we have been awarded a 3-year grant from the USDA’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (BFRDP) that will enable us to provide new support services for military veterans seeking to farm, and for “advanced beginning” farmers who have 3-9 years of farming experience. Matching funds are provided by our collaborators at the NY Farm Viability Institute and the Local Economies Project. Since 2009 we have operated the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, a vibrant educational and social network that delivers mentoring, information resources, and training to beginning farmers and service providers who support new farm viability. Our long-term goal is to ensure access to resources, education and supportive networks to all who are interested in farming in the Northeast. With these new funds we will create training programs and farmer-to-farmer networks to address the needs of two under-served farmer groups: military/veteran farmers and individuals who have been farming for 3-9 years. Our team of collaborators includes: Cornell Cooperative Extension, National Center for Appropriate Technology, NY Farm Viability Institute, Farmer Veteran Coalition, NY FarmNet, NY Dept of Veterans Affairs, Local Economies Project, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and Heroic Food Farm School. Together we will:

  • Offer annual 5-day intensive entrepreneurial “boot camps” to military veterans seeking to farm
  • Develop approved on-the-job training opportunities on farms, allowing military vets to use GI benefits to get hands-on farm experience
  • Create regional farmer veteran networking groups
  • Provide 40 advanced beginning farmers with intensive support from a “New Farmer Profit Team” of advisers
  • Develop 8 new online courses geared toward advanced beginners seeking to diversify with new enterprises
  • Design intensive trainings on scaling up, including wholesale marketing and equipment decision-making

If you’re a veteran interested in upcoming programs, click here to fill out our short interest form.


9 thoughts on “New Support for Veterans and Advanced Beginning Farmers

  1. Joan Fassler says:

    I have recently bought property to farm. I am a Vet and was involved in farming before I went into the military. I have been trying ever since I got out to get back into farming. Who would have thought it would be so difficult.
    I am currently working a full time job. What I would like to to is start farming full time. Any advice? Any help?

  2. louis vaughan says:

    Interested in 5 day intensive entrepreneinial ‘boot camps’

  3. Sarah Diana Nechamen says:

    Hi Louis,
    I’m glad to hear you’re interested! If you want to stay updated on the boot camps and our other veteran projects, you can fill out this short interest form.

  4. sweeney farms- lawrence sweeney jr says:

    interested in heliculture, escargot, edible snails for food,would you have any info for this type of alternate farming? as I am disabled v.a. compensated monthly. this is the only restricted alt farming I can cope with. the raising of crops and animals would be to much for me to handle.

  5. Sarah Diana Nechamen says:

    Hi Lawrence,
    The USDA has a good web page on snail farming: If you’re interested in staying informed on the Small Farms Program’s general farmer-veteran resources and programs you can also fill out this short interest form.

  6. sweeney farms- lawrence sweeney jr says:

    waiting for your online boot on snail farming.

  7. Joan Fassler says:

    I would be interested in crayfish farming for food. I do not know if that is possible in the North East. Maybe in a greenhouse envirnoment.

  8. Frank Schmidt says:

    I am currently working on a small aquaponic project and would like to expand. What information is out there to help??

  9. Joe Johnson says:

    Being a veteran and a beginning farmer, I found a lot of help and resources through the Farmer Veteran Coalition. They are working with Cornell on this project out of their NY chapter. If you are looking for help beyond the services this project offers, go to the FVC website or call them (530) 756-1395 and take to a veteran outreach specialist.

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