VetAdvisor’s Partnership with Breaking Ground Program Helps Veterans Become Budding Farmers, Ranchers

By Marketing Team

America’s agriculture landscape is rapidly changing because of its most important resource — people.

The average age of a farmer or rancher is 57.5, and with so many producers nearing retirement age, it brings into question just how the nation’s food infrastructure will adjust in the years to come.

We can look to the nation’s 3 million Iraq and Afghanistan military veterans for a potential answer. Although their median age is 37, the group has an unemployment rate significantly higher than the national average. Nevertheless, few people in the workforce are as inherently suited for and have shown the deep commitment required for success in farming and ranching than veterans.

Helping veterans transition to the next stage of their lives is at the core of Three Wire Systems’ identity, which is why it’s a special honor for us to partner with the Battleground to Breaking Ground (BGBG) program.

Part of Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension and funded by the USDA, BGBG focuses on providing veterans with the tools and developing the skills necessary to begin a career in farming/ranching. For our part, coaches from our VetAdvisor program (part of our MyAdvisor division) augment and support the program by actively working with students to assist them in meeting educational and personal goals.

Here’s a closer look at the program and our role:

Breaking Ground

Primarily targeted to retired veterans and active-duty military, as well as their families, BGBG is a year-long program with three phases:

  • Phase 1 — Agriculture Workshop: An optional online course that introduces participants to basic farm and ranch concepts, business planning and training programs, conducted with military veteran farmers and ranchers. Upon completion, participants receive a certificate to verify training hours to enhance their eligibility for agriculture-related funding sources, and they enhance their chances of receiving a tuition waiver for the following phases.
  • Phase 2 — Business Planning: Participants complete weekly online modules aimed at creating their own business plan, with their weekly assignments reviewed by an agriculture economist who provides helpful feedback. By the end, participants should have a full business plan to direct their operation and be used to apply for funding.
  • Phase 3 — Production Education: Through a combination of online courses, field days and hands-on learning, participants pick up the foundational skills for a successful agriculture operation. This is where students, quite literally, get their hands dirty. Ideally, at the end of this phase, a participant will have the skills to take their first step into running their own operation.

VetAdvisor’s role

BGBG provides an all-encompassing introduction to farm and ranch ownership and management, but many veterans require extra support as they make a significant career transition — and we’re on the line to help.

Three Wire Systems’ VetAdvisor program offers a range of wellness services, with 24/7/365 access to care coordinators and coaches over the telephone or online. We have deep experience in helping veterans who require assistance in career development or financial guidance, such as recognizing predatory lending practices, debt management and budgeting.

For a budding farmer or rancher, every little bit of help can make a difference in creating a successful venture. The AgriLife Extension’s leaders understand that and ensure veteran transitional and disability support was a pillar of the program, making them a perfect partner for VetAdvisor.

Through these shared values, we hope to play a small but important part in helping a new generation grow our nation’s agriculture industry.

To learn more about Battleground to Breaking Ground, click here, and find more on MyAdvisor/VetAdvisor here.

Tags: VetAdvisor

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