Federal programs are available to help farmer veterans...
The goal of this page is to help direct farmer veterans (or veterans interested in becoming farmers) to the resources and programs that best fit their current needs.
Of particular note is the “Government Resources Guide for Farmer Veterans” (the “Guide”) produced by the Farmer Veteran Coalition and the Drake University Law School Agricultural Law Center. The Guide provides information about programs that directly support veterans whose goal is to start or improve a commercial agricultural business. Links to specific information within the Guide are provided below.
Below are brief descriptions of programs that veterans can use to start and run a farm business. Program descriptions include links to additional details and resources. The programs described below are run by various federal government agencies, including:
Some state government agencies may also offer veteran-focused programs.
Keep in mind that programs run by different federal or state agencies can be used at the same time, and that it is often beneficial for a farmer veteran to combine a variety of programs. However, it is the farmer veteran’s job to figure out how to cobble together the different programs. Go to page 9 of the Guide to see how real-life farmer veterans have combined federal programs to create a successful farm operation. This page provides information about veteran-specific programs; see the Federal Conservation Programs page in this toolkit for additional farm program services.
Note that veterans programs, particularly those available through the VA and SBA, often address general veteran-related needs, such as healthcare, education, employment, and business concerns. These programs are not tailored to the specific needs of farmer veterans. Still, many programs aimed at veterans can be used to support one or more of the elements of a farm operation. For instance, through the VA Home Loan program, a veteran could purchase a house sitting on a piece of farmland. However, the VA Home Loan program could not be used to purchase the surrounding farmland. General veterans programs can also be used in combination with farm-focused USDA programs, which may offer a preference for veterans.
Use the descriptions below to identify which veterans programs might fit your needs. The “Government Resources Guide for Farmer Veterans” (the “Guide”) linked within the descriptions and the resources listed at the end of this page offer more details for farmer veterans, including how to apply and how to combine programs to meet your individual needs.
Civilian volunteers and veterans work alongside each other to grow organic produce to sell at a Seattle hospital farmer’s market. Growing Veterans aims to empower veterans through sustainable agriculture.
It’s not an attorney’s job to make decisions for farmers or to set farm transfer goals. Instead, attorneys can provide information about pros and cons of different options, advice about what is common versus unusual, fair versus unfair, etc. Attorneys can help farmers understand the universe of possible farm transfer goals and help narrow down individual options so that farmers can make final decisions.
The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems is an initiative of Vermont Law School, and this toolkit provides general legal information for educational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute, and should not be relied upon, for legal advice. Each farmer’s circumstances are unique, state laws vary, and the information contained herein is specific to the time of publication. Accordingly, for legal advice, please consult an attorney licensed in your state.