Texas: Military Vet, Beginning Farmer Training, Navasota, Oct. 14-15

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in cooperation with the Texas AgrAbility Project, U.S. Department of Agriculture and others, will kickoff a new military entrepreneurial project Oct. 14-15 in Navasota.

The application period for this second Battleground to Breaking Ground Entrepreneurial Training Project will be until Sept. 29, coordinators said.

An applicant webinar will be at noon Sept. 18 for people interested in applying for the program. The webinar will include program details, directions for applying and tips for submitting a quality application. There also will be a question-and-answer period. Register here.

“The two-day kickoff for what we’re calling Battleground to Breaking Ground Entrepreneurial ‘basic training’ will take place at 7D Ranch, 2729 County Road 305,” said Erin Kimbrough, AgriLife Extension military program coordinator for the Texas AgrAbility program, College Station.

7D Ranch is a 1,400-acre working cattle ranch and hunting operation that offers cabin rentals, a hunting lodge, exotic game hunting packages, cattle-sorting events and more. For more information, go here.

“Participants will be required to attend both days of the program kickoff, which will provide them with unique learning and networking opportunities. One of these will be the introduction to the full Battleground to Breaking Ground Entrepreneurial Training Project,” Kimbrough said. “Participants will learn the goals of the program, what will be provided to them, and what is required of them. They will also learn about additional programs available to them like Texas AgrAbility and VetAdvisor.”

The entrepreneurial training project provides face-to-face and online training as well as hands-on experiential training and technical guidance in all areas of agricultural production, she explained.

“This three-phase entrepreneurial training project is intended to enhance the sustainability of new veteran agriculturalists by providing an innovative, holistic model for education, training, technical assistance and outreach,” Kimbrough said.

The project features online courses related to business planning, risk management, goal setting, funding sources, recordkeeping, budgeting, marketing, agricultural safety, and crop and livestock production. It also will incorporate hands-on field trainings, mentorship, individual education planning, transition services and disability support.

“The goal of this ‘basic training’ weekend is to bring participants together for team-building, networking and program introduction, as well as for education and a better understanding of the resources available to people interested in an agricultural enterprise,” she said.

The event will also include panel discussions with successful farmers and ranchers who will share their experiences and valuable information about how they manage their agricultural operations.

A primary goal of the project is to give veterans and other beginning farmers and ranchers with and without disabilities better access to resources and opportunities — not only in agriculture but in other career areas as well, she said.

“We can help attendees with a starting point for developing a business plan and getting the technical assistance they need,” Kimbrough said. “We can also help point them to the agencies that can provide them with the funding they are seeking for their agricultural operation and make it easier for them to start their own agricultural operation, find options to secure land and equipment.”

Program registration is $225 per person, which includes all event activities, bunk-style lodging and meals. The cost without lodging is $185 per person. Attendees can register for the event online at the Texas AgrAbility website, here.

Program partners include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas Department of Agriculture, Farmers Assisting Returning Military or FARM, Capital Farm Credit, the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Millican Alliance, VetAdvisor and the Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.

For more information, go to the Texas AgrAbility website or contact Kimbrough at 979-847-6185 or erin.kimbrough@ag.tamu.edu or McLaurin at 979-862-1913 or makenzie.mclaurin@ag.tamu.edu.

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