The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently teamed up in an effort to help military veterans and their spouses find jobs in the agricultural sector.
Lanon Baccam, deputy under secretary of the USDA's Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services division, signed the agreement, and Eric Eversole, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, signed a joint agreement.
Eversole is president of Hiring Our Heroes and is a commander in the Navy Reserve, and Baccam, a U.S. Army and Iowa National Guard veteran who served in Afghanistan, is the USDA's Military Veterans Liaison.
"Today's agreement opens the door for thousands of service members who participate in Hiring Our Heroes events around the world to benefit from USDA's vast array of tools and resources," Baccam said. "This new partnership strengthens USDA's ongoing efforts to help veterans pursue rewarding careers in farming, ranching, or in the fast-growing agriculture and food sectors."
The new partnership will complement the work USDA already does for veterans. For the past five years, it has given $466.8 million in loans to over 6,800 veterans to buy farmland and agricultural equipment, including $25.8 million in micro-loans to better assist veterans with smaller farm businesses.
In addition, the USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) has been working more closely with the Defense Department to help returning military with the transition back to civilian life through the Transition Assistance Program, which offers job training, and financial and technical assistance to enter agricultural fields.
For further information on these programs for veterans, visit www.usda.gov/veterans.