FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is partnering with other agriculture organizations in administering a federal grant directed to establish and enhance farming opportunities for military veterans, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles announced.
The $746,567 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will provide agricultural opportunities for veterans and transitioning service members. Kentucky Department of Agriculture, along with the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office, Kentucky Horticulture Council, and University of Kentucky’s Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky, will collaborate on administering the grant with additional support from the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, and Hopkinsville Community College.
USDA’s Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program provides grants to aid military veterans interested in agriculture pursuits. In addition to providing educational opportunities, the grant is designed to develop a peer-to-peer network for veterans in agriculture, and construct a pathway that facilitates veterans’ entrance into agriculture-related careers.
“Creating more opportunities for our military veterans is vital for the men and women who have served this country,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “Being able to combine this endeavor with increasing agriculture pursuits is a great benefit for veterans and Kentucky. It also is a natural partner with our Homegrown by Heroes agricultural marketing program. We are happy to be a part of this grant and work with other organizations to make these partnerships successful. ”
The grant funding will allow for Kentucky’s veterans to receive opportunities for hands-on training, classroom workshops, and one-on-one assistance for veterans to enter or increase veterans’ knowledge of the agriculture sector. It will also create a network of agricultural producers and veteran mentors in diverse agricultural areas to advise veterans entering agricultural careers. Finally, the grant will design three distinct agriculture training programs, ensuring departing service members have the information and training to enter Kentucky agriculture and agricultural careers.
Funding for the project is provided by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program.
For more information or to learn how you can be a part of this new program, visit https://www.kcard.info/kentucky-agvets or contact Kellie Padgett, KCARD Business Development Specialist at [email protected], or at 270-883-0052.