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Veteran farmers to gather in Austin

By Justin Walker

The Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) will hold its fifth national meeting Nov. 17-20 in Austin.

The national organization’s mission is to help veterans feed America, FVC Executive Director Michael O’Gorman said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network.

“We are really mobilizing the agricultural community to help find places, careers, employment and support for veterans going into farming,” O’Gorman said.

The stakeholder meeting is an opportunity to exchange knowledge. Most of the veterans involved with the organization are first generation farmers. These conferences allow attendees to learn about farming practices from other veterans who have more experience, according to O’Gorman.

This conference also allows members to meet people with similar stories, he said. Almost all voluntary military members are from rural areas. The top two types of addresses in the FVC database are rural route and county roads in Texas.

“This gives the veterans a chance to come from their small communities and meet up, meet friends, have a sense of camaraderie and joint purpose with other veterans that they get to meet at these events,” O’Gorman said.

More than 15,000 members make up the organization, but not all of them are farmers and ranchers. Many are aspiring to be in agriculture but haven’t found their way yet, O’Gorman said. However, the number of farmers and ranchers within the group continues to rise.

“In Texas alone, we have 1,400 veteran members, and we have 250 with cattle,” he said. “There’s a lot of farming going on amongst this group, and it’s really fast growing.”

A membership is not required to attend the meeting. But memberships are free and come with a discounted conference registration fee, O’Gorman said.

Registration ends Nov. 8, but rooms and sessions are likely to fill up fast, he said.

More information, such as the agenda, registration fees and farmer veteran scholarships will be announced later.

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