Return The Favor: Troops to Tractors

One of the mottos at the Pennsylvania Farm Show is “farmers are the two percent of the nation who feed us, veterans are the two percent of the nation who protect us.”

There’s an organization helping those who served transition into a career in agriculture.

The Pennsylvania Veteran Farming Project’s “Troops To Tractors” program has been around for just a year and is already proving to be a success. The program is for those who served in the military and want to learn more about farming without having to go back to school to do it.

Troops To Tractors sets them up with a farming mentor so they can get real hands-on experience.

Greg Johnson of York spent four years in the Marines. Now he spends his time on the farm. He has a couple of gardens and poultry but hopes to expand into raising more animals and crops. He eventually wants to own his own farm.

“It’s very relaxing for one thing,” Johnson said, “I love growing my own food, knowing where everything is coming from, it’s healthier.”

Greg says it takes a lot of discipline to be a farmer, which he learned in the military. In fact, farmers and veterans share a lot of the same qualities.

“The dependability, the mission focus, the idea that you continue working until the job is done whether that be a calf being born or harvesting. Just as in the military, veterans must 24/7 be on duty until that mission is done also,” said Mimi Brooker of the Pennsylvania Veteran Farming Project.

The Pennsylvania Veteran Farming Project also offers veterans assistance with business plans and financial resources. They were even able to help one veteran farmer purchase a tractor.

Farm Show officials say there are plenty of opportunities for veterans interested in the agriculture/farming industry. For more information on the Troops To Tractors program, visit troopstotractors.org.

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