Veterans in Pennsylvania Receive $300,000 Boost to Farming Opportunities

Veterans in Agriculture GrantsCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding this eek announced the awarding of $300,000 in Veterans in Agriculture Grants. The grants aim to connect military veterans with farming opportunities, providing crucial support for those transitioning to civilian life.

The announcement was made on Military Appreciation Day at the 108th Pennsylvania Farm Show, with Major General Mark Schindler, Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, joining Secretary Redding. The funding represents a 50% increase compared to previous years under the Shapiro Administration and marks a substantial investment in the state’s agricultural sector.

Two organizations were the recipients of these grants. The PA Veteran Farming Network, a statewide organization, received $200,000, while Community Partnership, Inc., which serves Butler County, was awarded $100,000. These funds will assist military veterans in establishing or expanding farming operations, making them more profitable and sustainable.

This initiative could prove pivotal for veterans in Pennsylvania. The transition from military to civilian life can be challenging, and the farming industry offers a practical career path that utilizes many skills developed during military service. Furthermore, farming can provide therapeutic benefits, offering an outdoor, physically active lifestyle that can be beneficial for mental health.

The Veterans in Agriculture Grant program is part of the state’s commitment to agricultural business and workforce development. It provides “mini-grants” to organizations that support military veterans entering or expanding farm operations or related businesses.

Funding for this program comes from the Agricultural Business Development Center, established through the PA Farm Bill. The center aims to equip Pennsylvania farms and other agricultural businesses with the resources they need to increase their profits and sustain their operations.

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The bipartisan budget for 2023-24 saw the Shapiro Administration increase funding for these grants to $300,000. This investment underscores the administration’s commitment to supporting Pennsylvania’s veterans and the agricultural industry, both vital components of the state’s economy and community.

Mimi Thomas-Brooker, Executive Director of the PA Veteran Farming Network, expressed her gratitude for the ongoing support. She stressed that these grants would have a “real and lasting impact” on the grantees’ farms. The sentiment was echoed by Maj. Gen. Schindler, who thanked Secretary Redding and the Department of Agriculture for their continued recognition and support of veteran farmers.

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