Spring has sprung! Here at the Farmer Veteran National Headquarters, we are remarkably busy wrapping up the Fellowship fund, writing several federal grants for some exciting pilots throughout the country for urban agriculture, a national mentorship program, and a USO food insecurity program-stay tuned!
We are also hard a work on our existing grant work and are pleased to announce that FVC has received a four-year Mental Health Awareness Training Grant from the Department of Health and Human Services-Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). This is FVC’s first SAMSHA grant, and we are excited to be the recipients of this award so that we can increase our work in the mental well-being of our members and Veterans in general. Through this project, we will be working to train FVC members, their families, and members of the agricultural community that collaborate with Veterans in mental health and suicide prevention utilizing PsychArmor, QPR, and safeTALK during each year of the grant. As this project moves forward, we will share additional information through our chapters, this newsletter, and online platforms.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition has also partnered with Flower Hill Institute on their Emergency Relief Program-Phase 2 grant with USDA FSA. This grant runs through the end of this year and is part of the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which includes $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by expenses associated with losses of eligible crops due in whole or in part, to a qualifying disaster event experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. Want to know if you were is a designated disaster site-check here https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/disaster-designation-information/index
If you are and would like more information on the claim process, please call the FVC call center toll free at 855-FVC-FARM (855-382-3276). We can help you determine if you are an eligible producer, have eligible commodities, and figure out what your benchmark years are. DO NOT DELAY-CLAIMS NEED TO BE FILED BY JUNE 2ND.
The PACT Act is especially important to many in our FVC community. As of January 1st, the Department of Veteran Affairs began processing all related claims, and any Veteran affected by toxic exposure are encouraged to apply for assistance under the new law. This new law expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposure and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post -9/11 eras. There are now twenty-three presumptive conditions for burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic exposures. Many veterans who serve during certain eras, in certain locations, or who have previously been diagnosed with one or more presumptive conditions may now qualify for expanded support and disability compensation, even if they were denied previously. FVC has been asked by VA to provide an informative online seminar to our members and we are scheduling that now. In the interim, if you need help in filling out the application form, please call VA Benefits and Services at 800-827-1000.
It has been a rough winter for many in our FVC family. Please enjoy all that Spring brings. Do not forget to send us a picture of your planting season-especially if you are using any of the 4Patriot seeds that were donated and distributed at the conference. If you are planting a community garden or have an Ag in the Classroom project send us an email at email@example.com and we will be glad to ship out a box to you.