The Ag Warriors Program Offers Opportunities for Military Vets
By Jean-Paul McDonald, Farms.com
Agriculture has deep roots in America, with farming and ranching playing pivotal roles in our nation’s history and future. With increasing demand for high-quality, affordable food and energy, the agriculture sector in the United States continues to provide for our growing population, both here at home and around the world. And just like our proud farming legacy, we take great pride in the brave men and women who have stood in the face of danger and defended our country with their lives – our military personnel, many of whom have rural backgrounds. The USDA reports that 45 percent of armed service members are from rural areas in the United States.
While the agriculture and agribusiness industries continue to grow and thrive, many returning veterans’ are finding it difficult to find work at home. Re-entering the civilian workforce can be a challenge for many military vets after years of active duty. In 2010, the Department of Labor reported that more than 20 percent of young veterans are unemployed.
There are several resources available to help vets returning to the United States find new employment, including the Ag Warriors program. Launched in 2012, the program provides assistance to veterans who are looking to start careers in agriculture. The program is offered through a partnership between the International Agri-Center and AgCareers.com, the leading online career site and human resources service provider for agriculture, food, natural resources and biotechnology.
“In an effort to better serve returning veterans and their career needs, we have partnered with AgCareers.com to continue to grow the Ag Warriors program,” said Jerry Sinift, CEO for the International Agri-Center. “
The Ag Warriors program works with both veterans and employers to connect them with employment and career opportunities within the agribusiness and food industries. “AgCareers.com is honored to be chosen to continue the efforts of the International Agri-Center’s Ag Warriors program,” said Eric Spell, president of AgCareers.com. “We are excited to open the door for both employers and veterans to connect regarding employment and careers within the agribusiness and food industries through AgCareers.com. We view the program as a way to honor veterans’ service and assist them in taking the next steps to career success.”
With support from major companies like DuPont, Dow AgroSciences, Growmark, Wilbur-Ellis, and others, the Ag Warriors program has proven to be a success in connecting employers and veteran job seekers together in a meaningful way.
Veterans who were disabled during their military service may mistakenly believe that they can no longer return to agriculture work. But with today’s technology solutions many people with disabilities can continue to work in agriculture, where their work ethic and agriculture experience will be welcome. The USDA has a grant program to provide assistance to people with disabilities who would like to work in agriculture. Both veterans and potential agriculture employers should become familiar with the program.