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Iowa Veterans Transition from Battlefield to Farm Field

PHOTO: The first annual conference of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa is set for tomorrow in Des Moines, providing information and help for vets looking for work in agriculture. CREDIT: Jim Larrison
PHOTO: The first annual conference of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa is set for tomorrow in Des Moines, providing information and help for vets looking for work in agriculture. CREDIT: Jim Larrison
December 13, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa – Local veterans who are looking to go from the battlefield to the farm field are getting some help in their efforts this weekend.

The first-ever conference of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa is set for Saturday in Des Moines.

Coalition chair Ed Cox says the organization will provide the vets with networking opportunities and education.

"So we're providing information on programs available to veterans that are in farming, both USDA and state programs,” he explains. “And then also how the veterans programs can help develop farm businesses and help further agricultural careers for veterans."

Topics covered at the conference will include business development, tax issues and talking with lenders and landowners.

Cox says there has been much interest from Iowa vets in finding jobs in farming, and he believes it's because more than 40 percent come from rural areas and it's a continuation of their dedication to the country.

"And a lot of them see feeding their communities and their country as a way to provide that service,” he says. “And then also, they're used to very results-oriented jobs, and that certainly is the case for agriculture and farming."

Cox stresses it's vital to connect veterans with agricultural employment, since the jobless rate for young vets is around 20 percent, while the average age of Iowa farmers continues to climb and half of the farmland in the state is expected to change hands over the next 20 years.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA