Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

From battlefield to pasture: Start-up capital available to veterans wanting careers in agriculture

Farmer Veteran Coalition
For some veterans, transitioning from life in the military to life back at home can be difficult and discouraging. One of the groups aiming to make that transition a little easier is the Farmer/Rancher Veteran Fellowship Fund.

DALLAS, TX Now in its 11th year, the Farmer/Rancher Veteran Fellowship Fund has granted more than $3.5 million in support of 800+ military veterans pursuing careers in agriculture. As one of FVC’s core programs, it helps beginning farmers and ranchers with what’s often their greatest hurdle – access to start-up capital.

Last year that came in the form of hot ticket items like greenhouses and grow tents, walk-in coolers and cold storage units, milking systems, water filtrations, and honey extractors. Some of the more unique requests included a mushroom substrate steamer and a copper still.

With the arrival of spring, 138 deserving members of the nationwide nonprofit organization welcomed the  news that their equipment request had been granted and would soon be delivered.

Many have already found improved efficiency in their business as a result. “It was taking me four hours to fill up my 1,100-gallon leg tank and now with my Generac pump I can fill the tank in about 15 minutes,” says David Volkman, an Army veteran who served for nearly three decades before starting Ohio Valley Hops.

“Our sights are set high for 2022. We anticipate raising $500,000 to give out to this year’s class of Fellows,” says Rachel Petitt, the program director. “We recognize this is a lofty goal, but we are really close so it definitely feels achievable.”

The online application process opened Jan 3rd and remains open through February 14th.

To apply visit: https://farmvetco.org/fvfellowship

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Margaret Sumption was recognized by SDFU for her service to rural youth as a volunteer, with the esteemed Minnie Lovinger Award. Sumption is pictured here with Aeriel Eitreim (left) Senior Advisory Council member from Sioux Falls and Cadence Konechne, (right) Jr. Junior Advisory Council member from Kimball.


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