Executive Director’s Comments: January 2024

Executive Director’s Comments: January 2024

Next month the Farmer Veteran Coalition will be celebrating its 15th anniversary! This is a major milestone for any non-profit, and we are looking forward to sharing it with you.

Initially, the FVC mission was two-fold. First, to identify new career opportunities in the agricultural sector that matched the skill sets of service members looking for a new purpose as they exited military service. Secondly, to assist our beginning farmers and ranchers in building profitable operations so that they could eventually scale and replace those producers that were exiting the industry.

On both accounts I would have to say that FVC exceeded all expectations that Michael O’Gorman, our founder, envisioned for the organization.

Throughout our history FVC has developed various programs to assist our members with their enterprises, but the Fellowship Fund, Geared to Give, Homegrown By Heroes, MarketMaker and state chapters continue to remain some of our core offerings.

Year over year our programing incrementally grows as FVC now provides services to over 45,000 members and 23 chapters in our 10 regions throughout the United States.

Additionally, our grant programs continue to evolve in depth and scope throughout the years. Our work with the Beginning Farmer and Ranchers Development Program, AgVets Program, and the Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program (2501), have been at the forefront to the success of our mission.

With these USDA opportunities, as well as other grant partners and donors, FVC has assisted many Veterans in finding meaningful employment in the agricultural sector or becoming producers.

To remain relevant, any organization needs to continually change. As FVC leadership looks forward to the next 15 years, we will continue to modify and expand our work into new frontiers important to our membership. Currently this work includes:

  • Career Pathway Project-Ag job certifications
  • Food safety requirements for entry into new markets
  • Combating food insecurity in our military communities
  • Urban agriculture
  • Ag tourism
  • Market access/procurement
  • Retail opportunities for the Homegrown By Heroes label
  • New podcast series for technical assistance for crop production
  • National volunteer opportunities

Despite the obvious challenges of working in the agricultural sector, it is a fabulous time to be a part of the innovation that is occurring. Through precision ag, climate smart ag, GPS technology and robotics I have hope that together we will create solutions that will provide the food required to meet the anticipated population growth in our country and the world. FVC is proud to take this journey with you.

FVC will be celebrating our anniversary in numerous ways throughout the year. I hope that you will read our newsletter and become even more engaged with our ever-expanding family.

Best Regards,

Jeanette Lombardo