Ag careers could be on the horizon for veterans if Wisconsin bill passes
One veteran says farming is similar to the military
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Military veterans returning from active duty could be given assistance in beginning agricultural careers if a bill in Wisconsin’s State Legislature passes.
The bipartisan bill calls for the creation of a Veteran Farmer Assistance and Outreach Program. The program would be intended to “integrate veterans into the field of agriculture and support veterans currently working in agriculture.”
The program would also involve the Department of Corrections to help previously incarcerated veterans find work in agriculture.
Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Department of Military Affairs and University of Wisconsin Extension would work together to provide veterans with the necessary resources.
A bipartisan proposal in the Wisconsin Legislature seeks to connect military veterans with careers in agriculture. The bill's text says the mission of the program is designed to "integrate veterans into the field of agriculture and support veterans currently working in agriculture."
Working on a farm is similar to life in the military, according to one veteran.
“It feels like the military again,” Brian Sales, a 10-year U.S. Army veteran, told Today’s TMJ4. “It’s a 24-hour operation, there’s always something to do (and) things are always changing.”
There are over 68,000 farms in Wisconsin and a farmer’s average age is 56, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
An aging farm population means there’s a variety of opportunities for veterans in ag.
“Not every single veteran that has access to an opportunity is going to become a farmer,” State Rep. Evan Goyke told TMJ4. “But getting that opportunity to be hands on will connect with some individuals.”
The bill is based on the Warriors to Agriculture Program introduced in West Virginia in 2015.
A hearing on the bill in Wisconsin’s state assembly is scheduled for June 8.