Bonus Challenge #5: Help Us Raise the Most This Week!
June 20, 2017
Help us help America’s bravest men and women serve our country a second time—by feeding it.
Did you know rural families have paid a disproportionately high price in casualties for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Did you also know the median age of farmers and ranchers across the nation is 56 years old, and as they reach retirement age, not enough young farmers are stepping up to take their place?
Nearly 10 years ago our director, Michael O’Gorman, set out to solve this problem by organizing a gathering for farmers on California’s Central Coast to talk about creating jobs on America’s farms for our returning veterans. The overwhelming support he received from the farming community at this meeting inspired him to leave behind a 38-year career in production agriculture and start Farmer Veteran Coalition.
With just the shirt on his back and a pick-up truck, Michael spent that first year driving up and down California hoping to connect with as many veterans as possible. Things started off slow, but of the dozen veterans Michael met that year, most went on to launch successful agricultural careers.
Nine years and more than 11,000 veteran members later, we're asking for your help on our mission of Mobilizing Veterans to Feed America.
Since 2008, Farmer Veteran Coalition has been assisting active duty and veteran members of our Armed Forces to embark on careers in agriculture by providing them with the education, resources and small grants necessary to kick-start their farm or find employment in farming.
Your charitable donation is a direct investment in our veterans and the future of American agriculture. Your gift will be allocated to the following programs:
2/3 will go toward the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund: our small grant program that provides direct assistance to veterans in the early stages of launching their farming operations. The Fellowship Fund makes purchases ranging $1,000 to $5,000 from third-party vendors on behalf of the veteran for items that make a critical difference in the launch of their farm.
- In 2016, the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund awarded 125 Fellows more than $349,450, including:
- 6 wells drilled
- 6 barns built
- 12 greenhouses built
- 20 head of cattle purchased
- 40 hogs purchased
- 600 hens purchased
1/3 will go toward the Growing Careers Scholarship Program: our scholarship program cultivates new farmers by placing them in full-immersion training programs providing valuable hands-on experience needed to launch a career in agriculture. Each $6,000 gift allows us to fund training for one veteran.
- In 2016, the Growing Careers Scholarship Program placed 7 veterans on farms and all 7 transitioned to full-time employment in agriculture.