Applications are now open for Cohort 16 of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

guys are gathered around a tractor filling planter boxes in an open plowed and rowed field
BattleGround to Breaking Ground cohort participants in a hands-on workshop on the use of farm equipment. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

The BattleGround to Breaking Ground project is a four-phase educational program available to veterans, active-duty military and their families, as well as beginning farmers and ranchers.

“This project provides online education, hands-on training, disability support services, mentorships, peer support and veteran transition support,” said Erin Kimbrough, BattleGround to Breaking Ground program manager, Bryan-College Station. “Participants learn how to develop a business plan and access funding for an agricultural operation.”

There is a 45-person limit for each cohort and 10 spaces are offered tuition-free for veterans and active-duty military whose applications are accepted. Another five tuition-free spaces are offered for beginning farmers and ranchers.

A live applicant webinar for Cohort 16 applicants will be held on the Zoom platform from noon- 1:30 p.m. on May 9.

BattleGround to Breaking Ground options, costs

Cohort 16 offers two options for prospective participants – one for tuition-waived spots and another for paid participation:

— Option 1: Through U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded grants, 15 tuition waived spots are available per cohort for veterans, active military and a select number of other beginning farmers and ranchers.

Applications for a tuition waiver are now open and close at 5 p.m. on May 31. The link for a tuition-waived application can be found on the AgriLife Learn site. This online application process allows you to apply to waive tuition for the BattleGround to Breaking Ground traditional program, which covers Phase 1, 2 and 3. The cost is $10 to apply for a tuition-waived spot.

Before enrolling to complete the application, prospective participants are asked to watch the BattleGround to Breaking Ground Overview video so they may understand the commitment required to participate in the program.

Successful applicants on a tuition-free basis will need to attend the “basic training” portion of the project in person. Basic training for Cohort 16 will take place July 17-19 in College Station.

— Option 2: Participants can skip the application process by enrolling and paying the full $600 tuition for the traditional program. Thirty paid spots are available per cohort for veterans and all other beginning farmers and ranchers. These are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Enrollment for the traditional program is now open and closes on July 12.

Those paying the full tuition can skip the application process and bypass any in-person requirements but must pay their tuition by the July 12 deadline.

Key dates for Cohort 16 are:

— May 9, live applicant webinar from noon- 1:30 p.m.
— May 31, tuition-waived application closes at 5 p.m.                                                                              
— July 12, paid tuition due.                                                                                               

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