Veteran Agriculture Selection Program (V.A.S.P.)

The Veteran Agriculture Selection Program (V.A.S.P.) at the University of Florida is now accepting and reviewing applications. Apply and transition into a viable and rewarding career in agriculture.

The University Of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center is offering the VASP Program with the goal of exposing veterans to various modern crop production practices and helping them develop positive relationships and career opportunities within the Florida agriculture industry while they are enrolled in a University of Florida Certificate Program.

What is V.A.S.P.?

V.A.S.P. is a 9-month paid internship program at the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences located in the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida.

Selected candidates will be introduced to field preparation techniques and cutting-edge research with specialty crops grown in Central Florida. Candidates will also be able to enroll in a variety of UF agricultural certificate programs of their choosing. Afterwards candidates will be placed in a 3-month paid internship with a local farm or agribusiness.

Deadline for Applying

The deadline for V.A.S.P. applications have been extended to COB July 7th, 2017.

Application Requirements

Veterans wishing to apply must submit:

  • A DD214 honorable discharge
  • A resume/job history
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • An essay describing i) their interest in agriculture, ii) what they would like to achieve from the V.A.S. Program, and iii) any prior experience in agriculture

Email your application to:

Simon Bollin, Agribusiness Development Manager at Hillsborough County Economic Development at the following email address:

The Interview Stage of the Application Process

Applicants will be interviewed by University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gulf Coast Research and Education Facility faculty, and the Hillsborough County Agribusiness Development Manager.

VASP Program Details

The Program accepts 1-2 applicants per year and will run from January 1-September 30, 2018. This is a 40-hours-per-week paid internship, paid at an hourly rate of $12/hr. without UF benefits. Program participants spend 4-6 weeks on rotation with GCREC farm staff and faculty programs, assisting with activities that expose them to basic plant production and related industry challenges. Activities may include trial planning, field/site preparations, preparing plant materials, trial maintenance, data collection, harvesting, and various cropping activities depending on season, crop, and individual research program needs. Once a month, the participant will meet with the VASP mentoring committee to discuss experiences faced during the rotations and to give the committee feedback about the program.

Enrolling in a UF Certificate Program

In conjunction with the work at GCREC, the program participant will be encouraged to enroll in a UF certificate program. Options include:

a. Environmental Horticulture Management
b. Food Safety Manager Course
c. Geomatics
d. Landscape Pest Management
e. Pest Control Technology
f. Unmanned Earth Systems
g. Urban Pest Management

After the 9-month GCREC internship, the participant will receive a certificate of completion along with any additional certificates earned at UF.


Upon completion of the 9-month GCREC internship, the program participant will transition into a 3-month paid internship with a local agribusiness or farm to use skills learned at GCREC, develop new skills in the agriculture industry and develop relationships within the local agriculture industry. The participant may then remain at the current place of employment depending on need or be placed in a permanent position within the growing and diverse Florida agriculture industry.