Vets Can Go From Defending the Country to Feeding it with the Agriculture SkillBridge Program
By Frank Torres – Guest Author
There are few professions more noble than a career in agriculture, and the responsibility of America’s farmers can’t be overstated. Without their work, our families would go hungry and be left looking elsewhere for one of life’s most basic necessities.
Our nation’s dependence on feeding our families serves as an important point as to why veterans should consider a career in agriculture. Veterans Florida can help.
This is where veterans can leave one important mission and step right into another, where they’re making a difference in the way we live our lives everyday. Taking off the uniform doesn’t mean we have to stop making an important difference in the lives of our neighbors.
Modern American agriculture in 2023 isn’t what many out there might think. It goes beyond planting seeds in the ground. It’s a STEM occupation that uses science, engineering, and innovative technologies.
This involves practices such as studying the best techniques for producing sustainable crops and even the implementation of artificial intelligence to enhance production. It involves areas such as aquaculture to manage fish health and general production, as well as the exploration of our scientific resources to play defense against threats to our crops and livestock such as pests and diseases.
Another misconception about modern agriculture is that it has to be done in rural isolation. That’s no longer the truth with more urban farming operations growing all over the country to feed our neighbors who may not have the same access to fresh produce as other communities.
The future of agriculture is not just bright. It’s essential. We must be able to maintain independence in food production without depending on anyone else to help us feed our own communities. For many veterans who want to feel the impact of their hard work on a regular basis, in agriculture you see your efforts on display every time you walk into a grocery store or each time you see a family enjoying dinner in a restaurant. America’s farmers and ranchers are responsible for those experiences.
And you can be a part of that. Especially here in Florida.
The Sunshine State meets a large portion of the country’s citrus demand. But in Florida, we also produce vegetables, sugar, strawberries, potatoes and even cattle for our meat and dairy needs.
In total, agriculture in Florida includes 9.7 million acres of land in an industry that generates about $7.4 billion dollars a year. And as we continue to lead the way among rapidly growing populations across the country, those numbers will only rise.
The resources are in place for you to begin your journey whenever you’re ready.
Veterans Florida provides the nation’s only statewide program that matches military members interested in a career in agriculture with the SkillBridge program which allows men and women leaving the military to begin the transition into the civilian workforce. Participants continue receiving their military pay while interning with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences..
If you’re dreaming of owning your own business, there are participants in our program chasing that same dream right now. We have the connections to ensure you learn everything you need before venturing out to build your own operation. And once you’re up and running, you’ll have the best pro-business economy in the country to work with here in Florida, where you’ll be joined by new businesses that relocate here every week.
Veterans Florida is here when you’re ready to make the decision to join one of the most important professions in the country.
Visit our website – https://www.veteransflorida.org/register/ – to sign up for more information.
(Frank Torres is a former Human Resources Specialist in the United States Army and was raised in the Greater Orlando area. He’s currently a writer and enjoys writing about his fellow veterans and their successes.)