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Virginia State University offers free farm conference for veterans

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Virginia State University’s Small Farm Outreach Program and the Farmer Veteran Coalition are hosting Boots to Roots, a virtual conference to help military veterans explore farming as a second career.

The conference will be held Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is designed to teach veterans who are new or beginning farmers about resources and grant opportunities available through the USDA and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Participants will also learn about financial planning, creating effective business plans and developing successful farm production practices. A virtual tour of Slade Farms in Surry, Virginia is included.

“Whether veterans are thinking about farming or have been farming a few years, there’s a lot of valuable information they can learn about production and about ensuring their operations are profitable and sustainable,” said Tony Edwards, an SFOP agricultural management agent who specializes in helping military veterans and beginning farmers.

The conference is open to veterans as well as military personnel who may be considering farming after retirement. To register, visit, and click on the event. After registering, a zoom link will be emailed to participants.

Keynote speaker for the conference is Willie Hines, chief operating officer of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, will also present at the conference.

Farming is a good career choice for veterans because it allows them to support their communities with the same passion they supported their country, Edwards added. “There’s a need for veterans who farm to come together to collaborate, commiserate, exchange ideas and learn from what others are doing in farming and agriculture.”

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, contact the Small Farm Outreach Program office at or call (804) 524-3292 / TDD (800) 828-1120 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations five days prior to the event