As 2018 slams the barn door tonight, and with 2019 lurking outside waiting to come in from the rain, we’re taking a quick look back at the year. It’s been one of growth both for our network members, and for our network.
With a lot of help, we're connecting veteran farmers and agribusiness owners with each other and members of the civilian ag community for mentorship, educational resources, and marketing information. In 2019 we’ll seat our new Advisory Board to help ensure that our activities stay solution-based and targeted to actual needs.
Thanks to those of you who have shared our information with fellow veterans and members of the military community our website, Facebook page and e’newsletter have become go-to resources for events and workshops, grants and financial programs, and maybe best of all, stories of veteran farmers doing good and doing well.
Some of our favorite tales were of....
the sw PA Veteran Farm Tour in October (above);
phenomenal in just one year of The Skirted Soldier;
tips from Larry & Anita Daugherty on starting a food truck business;
how Pleasant Lane Farms is working with Turner Dairy and Eat n Park;
Troops to Tractors VA OJT apprenticeship at Black Valley Farm Kune Kunes;
Air Force veteran turned chef Jason Puryear (R) mixing it up in Meadville.
Our PA Veteran Farm Map now features over 35 veteran-owned and operated agribusinesses across the Commonwealth. ( Contact us.) Navy veteran Dave & Mary Heller’s Olde Bedford Brewing Company is the newest addition.
Several of you have obtained assistance with —research, letters of support, and guidance on proposals. Thanks to Heritage Farms, we awarded our first mini-grant to a beginning farmer, Tim Wagner (R).
In 2019 we’ll seek support to offer another award. Other inbound requests have been for technical assistance connections (FSA, NRCS, Extension, SCORE, etc.), emergency assistance, and suggestions for site visits for mentoring.
In some cases, you’ve had a resource to offer fellow veterans. A Kutztown veteran has a stockpile of oak shavings and is seeking a fellow veteran interested in developing a home. Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll connect you!
And finally, we thank the Myles Sampson Family Fund of The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County for financial support in 2017 and 2018, and the Westmoreland Conservation District for fiscal administration. We also wish to acknowledge PA Wounded Warriors, Inc. (NOT affiliated with Wounded Warrior Project) and Work Vessels for Veterans, both of whom have assisted members of our network. (If you’re making year-end donations, do you due diligence. Check Guidestar.org, the BBB site, or search the IRS charity listing and look at the 990.)
Happy New Year!
The PA Veteran Farming Project does not have 501c3 status but is fiscally sponsored by the Westmoreland Conservation District, a unit of sub-government, so donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Your check payable to WCD in the memo line can be mailed to: WCD, 218 Donohoe Road, Greensburg PA 15601.