The UT/TSU Montgomery County Extension office will hold a Tennessee Beginner Farmer Development stakeholder meeting on Monday, December 4, at 6 p.m. This will be held at the Montgomery County Courthouse, 2 Millennium Plaza, Clarksville, in the third floor meeting room. Those who can’t attend can contact Karla Kean for more information, 931-648-5725.
Fewer than 1 percent of the population of America can count themselves as farmers, so the question becomes, “Who will comprise the next generation of farmers?”
A nationwide movement by the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) believes that veterans might serve their country in a new capacity, as providers of the nation’s food and fiber – and help themselves in the process. USDA and many in Tennessee, including University of Tennessee Extension, Tennessee State University Extension and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, agree. With support from the USDA, a new program is coming to Tennessee to help the dreams of some veterans become a reality. It may also help others who would like to farm, but don’t know where or how to start.
The Tennessee Beginning Farmers Development Program (TBFD) will provide resources and assistance to beginning farmers, especially those who are military personnel, veterans, and farmers with disabilities. Funded with two 3-year awards from USDA, the TBFD will launch in early 2018 in upper Middle Tennessee, and then expand statewide. Upper Middle Tennessee was chosen because of its proximity to Fort Campbell, which has a high concentration of military personnel including those who are on active duty, discharged and retired. The program will be expanded statewide in years 2 and 3.
Agriculture offers purpose and opportunity, as well as physical and psychological benefits. The TBFD will work to connect the opportunity of agriculture to Tennesseans who hope to start, develop and fund an agriculture-based enterprise.