Jeanette Lombardo is the executive director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a nationwide organization that connects veterans to jobs in agriculture.
These jobs range from urban gardening to rural ranching and crop insurance adjusting to drone piloting.
Lombardo says veterans and farming is the perfect match because vets are mission-driven, a trait that meshes well with a farm’s lengthy to-do list. Working with the land and caring for animals is also healing for vets that return with physical or invisible wounds.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition has 33,000 members and recently started chapters. Wisconsin is one of the newer chapters, making its debut during Farm Tech Days later this month.
Benefits of membership include commodity and business plan counseling, VA assistance, mentoring, internships, apprenticeships and corporate discounts for equipment, for example. The coalition also has a Homegrown by Heroes logo for its members and a website for people to purchase those products.