USDA program aims to connect veterans with farm jobs

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(WEAU)--The Bureau of Labor Statistics says right now 30 percent of veterans coming home from war between the ages of 18-24 are unemployed.

It's a startling statistic that the US Department of Agriculture is trying to change with the program Homegrown by Heroes.

The Homegrown by Hero's program works by matching veterans looking for work with farmers looking for help. It was piloted in Kentucky and will now be taken nationwide.

“Our veterans coming back to the valley are really in need of some sort of assistance,” Clif Sorenson with EC County Veterans Services said.

Sorenson says 60 percent of the veterans in the Midwest come from rural communities and many already have agriculture backgrounds.

“For a program like this to come now and help them now is so fantastic. It will help veterans pull themselves up by their boot straps and get back on the job and get back into business that they are interested in,” Sorenson said.

Wisconsin USDA representative Renea Anderson says Homegrown by Heroes has not been started in Wisconsin yet.

"I would not be surprised to see it here soon. We do have the Farmer Veteran Coalition that’s part of the USDA. It helps connect farmers to veterans who are looking to get more careers in the AG business,” said Anderson.

Anderson says the coalition is in the beginning stages too.

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