New Help Available for Veterans Seeking Entry into Agriculture
With his son, Matt celebrates his return home after serving in Iraq. Matt and his family look to begin a new chapter of their lives operating a farm, but a lack of access to land, financing, and support has made this journey difficult.
Matt recently returned from military service in Iraq. He works for a construction company that builds beachfront high rises in South Carolina. But this hard working, self-reliant veteran dreams of a greater future for himself and his family.
He spent his childhood on a horse farm and joined the National Guard in college. After graduation, Matt was posted to Iraq and served as a Cavalry Scout Platoon Leader, putting his leadership abilities and hands-on approach to life into action.
For the moment, Matt’s construction job pays the bills. But for a driven veteran coping with the upheaval of returning from combat to civilian life, it isn’t the right fit. Matt wants to create something he values, work for himself, and build a solid future for his young family.
These days, Matt, wife Kimberly, and their two sons are looking for a farm. Matt wants to run an environmentally conscious livestock operation producing pastured meats. Kimberly’s marketing background will help build a profitable operation.
A central Missouri dairy seeks a beginning farmer to purchase their 79 acre rotational-grazed dairy operation. The farm features electric cross fencing and auto-watering to 12 paddocks and a partial line of machinery that could be used by a successor. The current landowner will serve as a mentor to a beginning farmer for the initial months of ownership and help ease the transition onto the new farm. Purchase of cattle to accompany the farm is negotiable.
Mark and Susan Ramaeker own and operate Ramaeker Organic Farm near Columbus, Nebraska. They employ a crop rotation including wheat, popcorn and soybeans integrated with plantings of alfalfa to increase fertility and control weed problems.
Beginning farmers and ranchers face significant challenges, including access to land and capital (thanks to rapidly increasing land values and cash rents). They also face barriers in accessing federal programs designed to assist them with getting started.