DESOTO — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in cooperation with the Texas AgrAbility Project and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will present an agriculture workshop for active duty and veteran military service members Nov. 7 in Desoto.
The free workshop, “From Battleground to Breaking Ground: A Transformational Journey,” will be held from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at 314 W. Belt Line, located at the southwest intersection of Hampton and West Belt Line roads. The site is a 17-acre working farm run by the non-profit organization Farmers Assisting Returning Military, or F.A.R.M. Information on F.A.R.M. can be found at http://www.farmvet.org.
Capital Farm Credit will sponsor breakfast and lunch for the program.
“F.A.R.M. co-owners James Jeffers and Steve Smith will be our veteran speakers and will take participants on an educational farm tour highlighting enterprises such as aquaponics, micro-green production, organic vegetable production, composting, and growing free-range chickens, as well as goats and hogs,” said Erin Pilosi-Kimbrough, AgriLife Extension program coordinator of agriculture workshops for military veterans. “They will also talk about their work with local restaurants and with the Dallas Farmers Market.”
According to Jeffers, F.A.R.M. is a nonprofit organization established to assist veterans transitioning from military service to civilian life. It incorporates a multi-faceted therapeutic approach that includes agricultural and recreational therapy.
Pilosi-Kimbrough said the workshop will give current and former military with or without disabilities interested in farming or ranching the opportunity to get information on starting, developing and funding an agriculture business.
“While the program is designed for current and former military, beginning farmers and ranchers, and small landholders are also welcome to attend and can benefit from the workshop information,” she said.
Jeffers said agriculture capitalizes on the skills and mentality created in military life, and through farming veterans can continue to serve the country and communities they care about and for which they have fought.
“These people remain American leaders with the ability to enhance national food security, generate a sustainable supply system and educate others about sustainable farming,” he said. “Farming also gives veterans the sense of purpose they need to better transition to civilian life.”
Pilosi-Kimbrough added that the Texas AgrAbility Program of AgriLife Extension, which is the coordinating agency for the workshop, focuses on connecting, assisting and empowering agricultural producers, family members and employees with disabilities and chronic health conditions to stay engaged in production agriculture.
She said the program was developed with input from AgriLife Extension, AgrAbility, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Farmer Veteran Coalition, Farm Service Agency, USDA Risk Management and Texas Department of Agriculture.
To ensure adequate space, attendees should RSVP by registering online and in advance at http://txagrability.tamu.edu.
A form can also be downloaded from the site and mailed to the attention of either Dr. Cheryl Grenwelge or Pilosi-Kimbrough at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 578 John Kimbrough, 2251 TAMUS, College Station, Texas 77843-2251 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
More information can be found on the Texas AgrAbility website or by contacting Pilosi at 979-847-6185.