Calling all veterans for free farming event

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Butler County veterans have a unique opportunity to learn about farming from reputable organizations at a free event on Thursday, Oct. 5. Speakers from Operation Grow, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 4-H Club and Butler County Extension will share valuable information to encourage veterans who have a desire to begin farming and homesteading independently. 

Liza Berrey, Commander of the American Legion Post 24, said farming has helped veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“They’ve proven that veterans that have PTSD, and who are having a hard time with traditional jobs, are doing really well in farming,” Berrey said. “A lot of people have land that they want to do something with, but they don’t know how or what steps to take. They don’t have the extra resources to invest in tractors and the necessary tools, but these organizations can help them get started with what they do have and get them on the right path.”

Email newsletter signup

Operation Grow’s objective is to provide a three step, planning support system to military veterans interested in farming using hands-on and digital based training. The local Extension office is where farmers register for the farmer’s market, and they provide non-formal education activities and classes. 

Sharlean Briggs, Butler County Extension Coordinator, said Extension’s Operation Grow program is an enhancement of their Beginning Farmers Program.  

“This program focuses solely on veterans and their needs on a case by case basis,” Briggs said. “It’s not only for vegetable growers, but livestock, poultry, forestry and just about anything you could think of in the area of agriculture.”

The USDA provides aid for larger scale farming like tree and animal farming. The 4-H program offers volunteer opportunities for veterans who are interested in using their skills to help the local youth grow in their agriculture knowledge. 

Beth Fair, Butler County’s 4-H agent, said veterans who volunteer help establish strong relationships within the community and often provide a wealth of knowledge.

“We learn so much from the older generation and what better way to continue that than forming these amazing relationships,” Fair said. 

Attendees must be a veteran or connected to a veteran. The event will take place at Beeland Park’s main building on 1016 East Commerce Street in Greenville at 6:00 p.m. Dinner will be provided, and attendees must register by Sept. 29. To register, call 334-382-5111.