Veterans organization

Veterans organization seeks opportunities in agriculture | New

Veteran and farmer Shelly Woods served our country in the 1980s, completing her military service just before Desert Storm. Upon his return to civilian life, Woods yearned for community. “I never felt like I belonged in a lot of veterans groups, I was either too young or a woman,” Shelly recalls. She then founded the Farmer Veteran Coalition. “It was the first group of veterans for me that I really felt like I found my people.”

What started as a hobby for Woods quickly turned into a passion. Shelly Woods is now president of the Minnesota Chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a nonprofit organization that helps those who have served in our nation’s military develop competitive and meaningful careers in agriculture. Woods acknowledged that many of our military men and women return with injuries – visible and invisible. “Many have found a way to heal and give back to their community. Their [veterans] lives have been dedicated to service in the military. [Agriculture] gives veterans a chance to serve their country again, by feeding them.

The Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) began in California in 2007 and has grown into a national organization that includes state chapters. Woods said she, along with Nathan Hanel, worked for the better part of two years to set up the Minnesota chapter. “We are still very new. We want to serve Minnesota veterans and farmers by helping them with resources, networking, and giving us a forum to talk and learn from each other. We want to be a voice for veteran farmers in the state,” Woods noted.

One of the goals of the Minnesota Chapter of the FVC is to provide those who have served our country with hands-on experience in the areas of individual interest. Woods said they want to take veterans who may not know what they want to do in farming and bring them to working farms – whether it’s dairy, crops, beef or whatever, and really show them what it’s like to run a successful business. agricultural business. “We also want to help them find farming resources in Minnesota specifically, like grants available from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and others,” Woods said.

She also said they want to help veterans with some of the tougher jobs on the farm paperwork side. “We want to have people who can help [veterans] walk through the processes a little more clearly,” she said.

Because the Minnesota chapter is still very new, Woods said there are a lot of things that are still going on. “Right now, we’re still collecting names from veterans who are ready to get people out. [to their farms]”said Woods. She also mentioned that the Minnesota Chapter is gearing up for its first state event to be held in Buffalo. The event will provide an opportunity for veterans to come together, network and see how consists of the FVC.

Non-veterans who wish to give back to those who have served our country also have the opportunity to do so. “Anyone can join the Farmer Veteran Coalition. If you’re not a veteran, you can join as an associate member,” Woods explained.

For more information on the Farmer Veteran Coalition, visit and on Facebook at the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Minnesota.