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University of Georgia farm program helps veterans transition to agriculture

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Shanteya Hudson

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(Georgia News Connection) A University of Georgia outreach program is giving veterans a new start in agriculture.

With the help of a $750,000 grant, the Farm Boot Camp will offer workshops on a monthly basis for free to veterans who want to learn about farming. The initiative formed by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences aims to address the growing number of veterans seeking agricultural training.

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Kyle Haney, rural health manager at the University of Georgia who oversees the boot camp, said it will equip participants with essential knowledge to kick-start their farming businesses.

"The training this round with Farm Boot Camp, we're going to have, of course, the general agriculture knowledge trainings, but then we are looking at a much more well-rounded training," Haney explained. "Really focusing on farm business aspect, farm marketing, looking at how to sell your products."

He pointed out the training will also provide them access to additional resources tailored to their veteran status. The program is part of a larger statewide initiative called Farm Again, focused on supporting people in agriculture who live with disabilities.

Haney noted the Farm Boot Camp goes beyond farming, serving as a platform for veterans to connect and continue their call to service. He emphasized it also plays a crucial role in expanding the state's workforce.

"Here in Georgia, agriculture is our number one industry," Haney stressed. "With that, that means there's a lot of job opportunities. And we need to make sure that we can fulfill that workforce that we have here for agriculture, and so we really hope with this training program that it's going to provide the veterans the training they need, whether they're going to be farmers or farmworkers."

While the main focus is veterans, Haney added the workshops are open to everyone.