Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacts: Erin Pilosi-Kimbrough, 979-847-6185, email@example.com
Mackenzie McLaurin, 979-862-1913, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in cooperation with the Texas AgrAbility Project, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Millican Reserve and others, will present the kickoff of a new military entrepreneurial project and provide a military agriculture workshop in College Station April 28-29.
Both events will be at the Millican Reserve, 4107 High Prairie Road.
The kickoff of AgriLife Extension’s new Battleground to Breaking Ground Entrepreneurial Training Project will be from 3-5 p.m. April 28. The kickoff will include a farm tour and opportunity for attendees to network.
“The purpose of this program is to increase the number of military farmers and ranchers in Texas through face-to-face and online training as well as hands-on experiential training and technical guidance,” said Rick Peterson, AgriLife Extension state family and community health specialist, College Station.
Peterson said organizations collaborating with AgriLife Extension on the project include the Farmers Assisting Returning Military program, also called FARM, Farmer Veteran Coalition, VetAdvisor, Millican Alliance, Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, Texas Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Our formal contract partners are FARM, Millican Alliance, VetAdvisor and the Texas Center for Rural Development,” Peterson said. “Other organizations will act as supporting partners, and thanks to a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant we will be able to expand the offerings to military vets and provide then with additional resources.”
Peterson said while the cost of most of the offerings will be covered by the grant, veterans can also use their educational benefits to access additional resources available through the project.
“This three-phase entrepreneurial training project is intended to enhance the sustainability of new veteran agriculturalists by providing an innovative, holistic model for education, training, technical assistance and outreach,” he said.
The project will feature online courses related to business planning, risk management, goal setting, funding sources, recordkeeping, budgeting, marketing, agricultural safety, and crop and livestock production. It also will incorporate hands-on field trainings, mentorship, individual education planning and transition services and disability support.
On April 29, a free “From Battleground to Breaking Ground: A Transformational Journey” workshop will be from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The program includes a lunch sponsored by Capital Farm Credit.
“This program workshop gives current and former military with or without disabilities interested in farming or ranching the opportunity to get information on starting, developing and funding an agricultural business,” said Dr. Cheryl Grenwelge, AgriLife Extension disability transition – family and community health specialist, College Station.
Grenwelge said while the workshop is designed for current and former military, beginning farmers and ranchers, women and small-acreage landowners are also welcome to attend and can benefit from the program.
Workshop presentations will address how to develop an agricultural business plan, starting an agricultural business, possibilities and options for farming or ranching with a disability, resource networking and the National Farmer Veteran Coalition.
“There will also be a presentation by a military veteran involved in production agriculture and a panel discussion on funding resources and opportunities,” said Erin Pilosi-Kimbrough, AgriLife Extension coordinator for family and community health, College Station.
The Battleground to Breaking Ground workshop was developed with input from AgriLife Extension, Texas AgrAbility, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Farmer Veteran Coalition, Farm Service Agency, USDA Risk Management and the Texas Department of Agriculture.
To ensure adequate space, attendees should RSVP by registering online and in advance at the Texas AgrAbility website, http://txagrability.tamu.edu/workshops/.
The form can also be downloaded and mailed to either Pilosi-Kimbrough or Makenzie McLaurin at 578 John Kimbrough, 2251 TAMUS, College Station, Texas 77843-2251.