Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 11: The West Virginia Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture Project

When I came home from work today, I still had no idea what I would be writing about today. I didn’t want to write about my day because trust me, while it was busy, it was pretty monotonous. I had a snarky commentary playing in my head that I was tempted to publish and then I saw this story.

I mostly read it out of curiosity. You see, I grew up in Virginia and as far as most Virginians are concerned, WV is the knock-kneed cousin that gets made fun of for everything. I can’t tell you how many WV jokes I heard growing up…and still find myself making on occasion (old habits die hard!). But what I found was a story that was truly surprising…in a good way!

West Virginia has started a new initiative: The West Virginia Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture Project.

Essentially they are trying to partner farmers with military veterans in order for the veterans to learn how to grow crops and raise animals. The hope is that by performing these tasks it will help the soldiers cope with their PTSD and help them find a purpose again. And be able to feed their families or sell their products to the community. Which is a win-win for everybody- the new farmers learn the many skills that a farmer needs in his repertoire which helps them regain their confidence in themselves and it also will hopefully invigorate West Virginia’s agricultural sector. WV is a poverty stricken state whose claim to fame for many years has been the coal mines. As the coal veins play out and communities die, it is more important than ever that programs like this help bring a sense of pride back and keep those small communities going.

I was at a meeting once where the Director of the Wyoming Wool Growers’ make a comment about pairing students up with old ranchers to teach them the new technologies. It would have allowed the students to learn from the ranchers and the ranchers to learn from the students. Now nothing ever came of that comment, but I hope to see more ideas like this coming up across the country.

I am so proud to be part of a huge community of people who will go well out of their way to help those in need, whether it’s to harvest the crops of a family that has suffered a tragedy, feed and clothe a family that has fallen on hard times, or simply drop an unmarked basket on the porch as a pick-me-up.

I often wonder where the true spirit of community has gone but I know that it is alive and well in Agriculture. Where would we be without Agriculture? Where would we be without all those wonderful Agriculturalists?

And what better story to read on Veteran’s Day than such a powerful one like this?

Agriculture truly is the greatest profession way of life.

Now I just have to get settled somewhere and get these initiatives started elsewhere. In the meantime, I hope this story has touched you…and maybe even moved you to start something similar in your community!

I hope you had a wonderful Veteran’s Day and God Bless to all those who have fought so hard to protect our way of life. 

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