Former President George W. Bush will be appearing at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. on Feb. 15 to launch a new initiative aimed at helping veterans. Ag Warriors will assist returning veterans in getting the education and opportunities needed to begin careers in agriculture.
Stacy Beachy of Ag Warriors says veterans and farmers have a lot in common to begin with.
"Farmers and veterans are growing freedom," Beachy said. "When you think about it in the U.S. if we don't have agriculture and if we don't have our farmers and ranchers we lose our freedom. A parallel to that is our veterans are fighting for our freedom and what a better way to celebrate our returning young men and women and agriculture; it just seems like the perfect fit."
Ag Warriors is a private, non-profit effort that will be launched officially at the World Ag Expo. Between now and then, Beachy says they are looking for help.
"We need supporters, we need people to get the word out, we need people to call us that may be veterans have an interest or aptitude for the agriculture industry," Beachy said. "We are currently building a database of candidates for the program. We need funders, we need industry leaders that would be interested in providing internships and apprenticeships."
USDA has also recently launched an effort to help veterans get into agriculture. Beachy believes such an effort needs to come from the agriculture industry as well.
Information can be found on the web site www.agwarriors.com.