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Connecting veterans with ag opportunities

Pennsylvania will host a free webinar series for military veterans interested in ag

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The ag sector in one U.S. state is helping veterans interested in agriculture access support and resources through a free webinar series.

Pennsylvania’s PA Preferred Homegrown by Heroes program and Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center will host multiple free online sessions to highlight opportunities, resources, funding and planning tools for veterans looking to succeed in agriculture.

The first session is Sept. 14 from 7:00pm to 8:00 pm and will include industry and government speakers.

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding will introduce Josh Scheinberg, an Air Force veteran serving as the department of agriculture’s military veterans coordinator.

Scheinberg and other veterans will discuss conservation, food safety, and farmland preservation.

While Phil Stober, director of the Agricultural Business Development Center, and Martin Brill from the Small Business Development Center, will inform attendees about grants, business planning and other available resources.

More than 7,000 military veterans identified themselves as agricultural producers in the state in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Veterans do so much for the country, so helping them succeed is an honor, said Secretary Redding.

"Pennsylvania is deeply grateful for the service of our military veterans,” he said in an Aug. 30 statement. Investing in their success and making sure veterans know how to take advantage of those investments is a tangible way of giving back to those who have given us so much."

Industry organizations are pleased to see veterans interested in agriculture receiving this kind of support.

“The men and women who choose to serve in the military to protect our country, and then choose to serve the world by producing food, fiber and fuel are rare individuals,” Bill Zeiders, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, told in an emailed statement. “Getting started in agriculture can be difficult for anyone, and we support any assistance our veterans can get to ensure that they can become successful in the agricultural industry.”

Veterans looking to attend the webinar sessions are encouraged to email PA Preferred Program Manager Gwyn Rowland to receive a web link or phone number.

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