BENEFITING: FARMER VETERAN COALITION
EVENT DATE: Nov 24, 2016
THE FARMER VETERAN COALITION'S (FVC) VISION IS TO MOBILIZE VETERANS TO FEED AMERICA. FVC'S MISSION OF CULTIVATING A NEW GENERATION OF FARMERS AND AGRICULTURAL LEADERS IS ACHIEVED BY: SUPPORTING AND PROVIDING EDUCATION AND TRAINING THAT DEVELOPS VIABLE EMPLOYMENT AND MEANINGFUL CAREERS IN AGRICULTURE, FACILITATING THE COLLABORATION OF FARMING AND MILITARY COMMUNITIES, AND SERVING VETERANS THOUGH SPECIFIC PROGRAMS AND SERVICES THAT INCREASE THEIR SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, AND CAPACITY TO DEVELOP OR ENHANCE THEIR AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS.
FVC provides education, programs, and services that connect veterans to meaningful, curative, and stable careers in agriculture.
Currently, FVC has 5,364 members.
During the last year, 2,842 new members joined FVC.
16% of those new members were women; 57% were white, 21% were Hispanic, 7% were African American, and 15% all others - including those who preferred not to answer. 72% served post 9/11 and a staggering 59% have service connected disabilities.
Our three-year goals are 1) to create a national veteran-to-veteran peer network that provides or facilitates access to training, education, internships, jobs, mentors, referrals and resources for beginning veteran farmers 2) to increase the agricultural capacity (e.g., level of agricultural production, financial, risk management and business development skills) of beginning veteran farmers, and 3) to increase the number of beginning veteran farmers entering into farming.
The Farmer Veteran Peer Network: Will consist of a national database of beginning veteran farmers, experienced veteran and seasoned farmers, organizations, and businesses that will be utilized to develop, provide, or facilitate access to, training, education, mentorships, internships, jobs, referrals and resources for beginning veteran farmers. This network will also serve to detect real-time educational needs, gaps in service, and barriers. It will also help identify and provide the resources needed for the provision of comprehensive capacity development assistance; tailored to the veterans’ individual assessment and development plan.
Over the last six years of working with thousands beginning veteran farmers we have learned two key lessons.
First, successful farm and farmer development is most likely to be achieved in the framework of a continuing supportive relationship through a mix of training, technical assistance, advocacy, and mentoring. Second, beginning veteran farmers prefer to receive direct, peer-to-peer experiential training delivered in either small groups or one-on-one in a local setting.
Those lessons helped shaped our new program model, which will use peer-to-peer outreach and education components, followed by a case management strategy to provide individualized comprehensive development services to participating beginning veteran farmers.
The proposed case management strategy employs a cycle of activities beginning with outreach and recruitment, followed by intake and assessment, and the preparation of individualized capacity development plans. Once the initial development plan is adopted, it guides the provision of subsequent development activities, including training, technical assistance, advocacy and mentoring services.
The proposed veteran-to-veteran peer learning model operates at the local, state, regional and national level for all of our activities.
Over the past year, FVC and our partners have shared historic accomplishments and realized significant progress towards our mission. We have brought national attention to the movement, helped mold legislative policy, developed and cultivated partnerships that will have influential and long-lasting impact on our veterans, and their families. We have gained an increased understanding and insight of our veteran’s needs and barriers, and we served more veterans last year; than all other years combined.