On Saturday, Sept. 13, over 40 veterans and family members gathered at the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau and Visitors Center for the first in a series of Veterans to Farmers workshops.
The Center for Rural Affairs, along with the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership (SOP), Lincoln University Extension, University of Missouri Extension and AgrAbility programs, and Pulaski County Sheltered Workshop provide these workshops to veterans. The workshops encourage veterans to choose farming and agriculture in the Fort Leonard Wood region as a career after their military service is complete.
Choosing farming and agriculture is a solid career option that will help the Fort Leonard Wood region become more resilient and our local food supply more sustainable.
Workshop attendees heard from industry experts on a variety of topics including the benefits of native plants, startup strategies, and production and marketing information.
First Lieutenant Daniel Woodring, an Assistant S3 currently stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, has a background in agriculture and intends to return to his roots once he retires. Lt. Woodring found information on the startup strategies the most interesting.
“I learned a lot about the different types of loans that are available for those just beginning in the industry,” said Lt. Woodring.
Sgt. 1st Class Virgil Fisher and his wife Dalene also attended the workshop and have a combined eight combat tours between them. Dalene is a veteran and SFC Fisher is currently an operations sergeant stationed at Fort Leonard Wood.
“I grew up in a rural area. We had three acres and I spent time in the garden or working as a farm hand. When I retire, I’d like to go back to farming,” said SFC Fisher.
SFC Fisher currently owns land in the Fort Leonard Wood region that he is slowly turning into a farm. His farm will include a Farmer’s Market-type garden, sheep, an area for growing lumbar, and an orchard.
The day-long workshop included a free lunch sponsored by MFA-Agri Services of Lebanon, Mo. Future workshop information can be found at www.SustainableOzarks.org or on Facebook under Sustainable Ozarks.
The Sustainable Ozarks Partnership (SOP) is building on the Fort Leonard Wood region’s strong past and preparing the region for a healthy, resilient future. We are strengthening the Fort Leonard Wood region.