Connecting Veterans to Opportunities in Agriculture

Connecting Veterans to Opportunities in Agriculture

Connecting veterans to agricultural career opportunities

Connecting veterans to agricultural career opportunities

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The skills & ethics #veterans bring from service are assets to agricultural #careers via @vetsbridgecom
Monday, December 15, 2014 - 8:15am


When I graduated from college in 1980 (yes, I’m aging myself), I had a degree in Agricultural Journalism because there were so many open jobs in the agricultural industry. We’ve all heard the stories about the number of U.S. farms declining and the need to attract a new generation to the land. I landed on this story in the Washington Post this morning – and thought it made perfect sense that returning veterans might find peace and satisfaction in one of our country’s most critical industries – agriculture.

Here are some excerpts from the story. It’s worth a read, but it also imparts some great insights into solid career options. The article was shared by the Partnership for Public Service.

“We have a large number of young people who are coming back from service and no one is encouraging them to go back to work on the family farm. So I started developing a transition guide and then built the website,” said Al Muñoz, a project manager in USDA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. He created the Returning Veterans to Agriculture Project, a website to help those who have served in the military find the resources and information they need to return to farms in rural communities or to start careers in agriculture.

Launched in December 2013, the website includes information on USDA grant and loan programs, real-time agricultural job announcements from and from the private sector, and plug-ins from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. There also is information on starting small farms, on educational and training opportunities and details from the 2014 farm bill that created special incentives for veterans seeking to work in agriculture.

From its initial launch, the site,, has attracted more than 6,000 veterans, and now averages about 750 unique visitors per month. In addition, visitors return an average of three to five times to find more information.

Muñoz was so passionate about this cause that he developed the website on his own time and at no cost to USDA, using an existing web platform and gaining buy-in from USDA leadership to ensure successful implementation. While Muñoz served in the military, he said it was his daughter, an Iraq war veteran, who inspired him to develop this tool.

“My daughter came back from Iraq a couple of years ago and she struggled after leaving the military,” said Muñoz. “That was what I was thinking of—giving these vets a chance to find themselves. They can do that if we can just give them the resources to make the connections.”

Muñoz said the site fills a void by serving as a centralized “one-stop shop” for veterans to gather farming-related information from a variety of USDA agencies and programs, and from the private, nonprofit and education sectors.

Joyce Hunter, deputy chief information officer for policy and planning at USDA, said... visit our blog to complete the article.