WVU joins ‘Veterans to Agriculture’

Educational farms in Mason Co.

Staff Report

PARKERSBURG — In an effort to attract and retain veterans to the field of agriculture, West Virginia University at Parkersburg and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture have partnered for the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture project. WVU Parkersburg is the first college to participate in this project.

Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture began in 2009. James McCormick, Veterans and Warriors Agriculture director, began working toward the establishment of a statewide program that would help veterans feed themselves and their communities. Since then, the program has grown to include beekeeping in three locations around West Virginia and two educational farms in Mason County. To date, the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture project has helped recruit more than 100 West Virginia veterans to become farmers or agribusiness owners.

According to a written agreement, Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture will assist with recruiting veterans to the WVU Parkersburg’s diversified agriculture program. The two entities will work together to track and mentor veterans enrolled in the program and establish training sites and opportunities for veterans in agriculture.

This project is also intended to assist the emotional stress of veterans in need. Part of the vision and mission is to develop a network of sustainable veteran farms in an effort to assist veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual abuse, substance abuse and addiction.

Shawn Healy, WVU Parkersburg veteran advocate, is looking forward to being the first college involved in this project.

“We’re very excited to be a part of this great opportunity to help Veterans,” said Healy. “We know this program will help get veterans on track to a great career in the field of agriculture.”

“Military Times” recently ranked WVU Parkersburg number 11 in the magazine’s “Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2015” list. WVU Parkersburg and its student organization, the Veterans Corps, offer support and activities to help veterans reach their educational goals. An on-campus Veterans Resource Center is available to student veterans looking for assistance using their benefits along with other services such as mentoring and tutoring.

For more information on the college’s involvement in the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture project, contact Shawn Healy at 304.424.8337 or [email protected]

Through WVU Parkersburg’s diversified agriculture program, students can graduate with a one-year certificate or a two-year associate degree, gaining the knowledge to start an agricultural-related business or profitable farm or increase revenue on existing farms.

For more information about the diversified agriculture program, call WVU Parkersburg at 304-424.8000.

Educational farms in Mason Co.

Staff Report