For some veterans and active-duty members, agriculture offers an opportunity to gain back the camaraderie that many feel they lose in their life after military duty. For others, it offers a chance to be their own boss while gifting them confidence, purpose, and immeasurable physical and psychological benefits. The skills and character traits it takes to succeed in both the military and agriculture are very similar. In fact, it’s a common reason as to why so many veterans seek out agriculture in life after the military.
According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, 11% of the 3.4 million agriculture producers in the U.S. are veterans or active-duty military. They account for $41 billion in agriculture sales and collectively farm over 129 million acres of land. In West Virginia, producers with military service account for 14% of the state’s producer population. In a state with such a storied agricultural and military history, it comes as no surprise that so many choose to serve twice – once by defending it and a second by feeding it.