The Department of Agriculture developed the Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture Program to integrate veterans into the field of agriculture, and support veterans currently working in agriculture. These programs may include, but are not limited to, using post-mine land for agricultural development, promoting high tunnel crops and production, expanding the apiary industry, developing cottage industries, exploring niche crops, raising more livestock, increasing the aquaculture industry and helping veterans promote their agricultural products through farmers markets and cooperatives.
Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture Program Manager
A Parkersburg, West Virginia native, Sierra Cox graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2010 and commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer. She served at Naval Station San Diego aboard USS BOXER (LHD-4) and USS McCLUSKY (FFG-41) completing a 2011 Western Pacific deployment and a 2014 Counter-Illicit Trafficking deployment.
Sierra moved back to her home state of West Virginia after leaving the Navy, and purchased Wonder Valley Farm in 2017 where she, her husband, John, and their daughter, Izabella, grow veggies and herbs, keep bees, cultivate non-timber forest products, and care for a menagerie of animals. She worked with the WV Food and Farm Coalition from 2019-2021 and is now excited to serve Veterans and Heroes and support the agricultural industry in West Virginia.
You can reach Sierra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-558-2210 ext 2535.
Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture Program Coordinator
Veterans & Heroes to Agriculture
The Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture program is dedicated to the integration and support of veterans, firefighters, law enforcement, emergency services personnel and first responders entering or currently working in agriculture to benefit their health and welfare, as well as the state’s agricultural economy. The application collects a baseline of information to help direct members to pertinent resources and is free to join. You can email completed applications to email@example.com or mail to Business Development Division ATTN: Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture 217 Gus R Douglas Lane, Charleston, WV 25312
Veterans and Heroes Pitch Competition
WVDA Veterans and Heroes is excited to announce the second West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Agribusiness Pitch Competition. The competition will be held at Cedar Lakes in Ripley on March 9, 2024 for qualified agri-businesses located in West Virginia. You must also be a member of the WVDA Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture program.
The 2024 application deadline is January 12, 2024 at 4:00pm.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture will reimburse up to $600 each fiscal year, ending June 30th, for any pre-approved agricultural-related classes, workshops, conferences, and certifications. You must fill out the Scholarship Application PRIOR to registering for the training event. Completed applications can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Business Development Division ATTN: Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture 217 Gus R Douglas Lane, Charleston, WV 25312.
You can browse a sampling of approved courses here. This list is not all encompassing. If you have any questions about a class, workshop, conference, or certification, please contact the Business Development Division at 304-558-2210 or email@example.com
Beef Production & Management
Food for Profit
Future Generations University: Maple Certification
Getting Started with Pasture Pigs
Indoor Specialty Mushroom Cultivation
Intro to Value-Added Dairy
Mid-Ohio Valley Growers Conference
Retail Farm Market School
Starting from Square One
Unlimited Future, Inc.: Planning for Profit
WV Beekeepers Association Spring/Fall Conference
WV Hive Co-Starters
WV Master Gardner Conference
Woodland Mushroom Cultivation
Woodland Stewardship: Management Practices for Landowners
Veterans & Heroes Grant Program
The Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture Grant Program was developed to provide funding to organizations around the state who work directly with or provide support to law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency medical service, first responders, veterans, active-duty military, and/or their spouses and family within an agricultural capacity. Grants may not exceed $24,000, and are awarded through an application process.
More info coming soon!
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the official agreement with the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s Homegrown By Heroes Mark to produce a merged mark combining WV Grown and the Homegrown By Heroes. This mark certifies farmers and ranchers of all military eras to sell their product as veteran and locally owned and produced. This is a marketing initiative that informs consumers that agricultural products donning the mark were locally produced, grown, or with 50% or greater value-added non-water ingredients within West Virginia by U.S. military veterans. The initiative allows veterans to differentiate their farm and ranch products in the marketplace.
Benefits of using the merged WV Grown and Homegrown By Heroes Mark
How do I get WV Grown Homegrown By Heroes certified?
WV Grown is the premiere branding program for agricultural products in West Virginia. By placing the West Virginia Grown logo on a product, buyers are assured that the product was grown or processed, with quality ingredients, in the Mountain State.
USDA Service Centers are designed to be a single location where customers can access the services provided by the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Rural Development agencies. This web site will provide the address of a USDA Service Center and other Agency offices serving your area along with information on how to contact them.
NRCS's natural resources conservation programs help people reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages caused by floods and other natural disasters.
- Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA)
The Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations.
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and non-industrial forest managers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, increased soil health and reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved or created wildlife habitat, and mitigation against drought and increasing weather volatility.
To provide for and promote the protection and conservation of West Virginia's soil, land, water and related resources for the health, safety and general welfare of the state's citizens.
- Agricultural Enhancement Program (AgEP)
The program offers technical and financial assistance as an incentive to implement conservation best management practices. Overall program primary objectives include the reduction of nutrients and sediment from entering the waters within the State and increasing farm profitability and sustainability.
We cultivate a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. We believe that veterans possess the unique skills and character needed to strengthen rural communities and create sustainable food systems. We believe that agriculture offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits.
- Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund
The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund is a small grant program that provides direct assistance to veterans who are in their beginning years of farming or ranching. The Fellowship Fund does not give money directly to the veteran, but rather to third-party vendors for items the veteran has identified will make a crucial difference in the launch of their farm business. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000, and $3.5 million has been awarded to veterans since 2011.
Patriot Guardens aligns resources to facilitate agricultural economic development and employment opportunities for WV veterans, WVNG members and citizens.
Operation Welcome Home is a Veterans Job Placement Facility at Mylan Park in Morgantown, WV. We serve the North Central West Virginia population of Veterans by providing services and support that cannot be found anywhere else in our Region.
We are here to assist our military-connected students in achieving academic, personal, and professional success through their educational benefits and activities that promote learning and wellbeing.
Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. The National Center for Appropriate Technology, a national nonprofit organization based in Butte, Montana, developed Armed to Farm through a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development.
Since launching in 2013, Armed to Farm has supported more than 800 veterans from 45 states with hands-on and classroom learning opportunities. Farmer veterans learn how to make a business plan and market their products, how to access USDA programs, set business goals, and develop mentorships with seasoned farmers.
The National AgrAbility Project is committed to helping military veterans who choose agriculture as their "Next Mission," as well as beginning farmers with disabilities or other functional limitations.
The West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance is a cabinet-level agency dedicated to providing services and benefits assistance to veterans. The department’s work brings in $2 Billion of federal benefits per year to West Virginia veterans. The department operates 16 field and claims offices throughout the state, with staff members conducting more than 250 benefits consultations daily. Additionally, the department operates West Virginia’s State veterans cemetery, veterans-only homeless shelter and veterans nursing facility.
Veterans Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255 and Press 1