In response to years of growing interest by military veterans, the Farmer Veteran Coalition and the Drake University Agricultural Law Center are convening the first ever National Stakeholders Conference, November 14-15, in Des Moines, Iowa.
The conference will be the first national forum on programs and services for veterans pursuing careers related to food and agriculture. All stakeholders from the agricultural and veteran communities are invited.
"All across the country there are organizations serving farmer veterans, and it's time to bring them together in a national gathering to share program ideas, resources, and inspiration," said Gary Matteson, chairman of the board of the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
Speakers will represent local, state and national non-profits and trade associations, local, state and federal government programs, ag employers, civic leaders, farmer veterans, entrepreneurs and others.
The conference will include panel discussions on lessons learned and sessions exploring the difficult question of coordinating programs and services.
"Veterans have diverse motivations and aspirations, but share opportunities and experiences that give them advantages in the logistically and physically challenging world of food and agriculture," said Neil Hamilton, professor and director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University. "The challenge for the organizations that serve them is aligning veteran-oriented services and programs with the programs and information for entrepreneurs in food and agriculture. The purpose of this conference is to provide a forum for networking and peer-to-peer learning, and to establish partnerships for long-term collaborations."
The student associations of Agricultural Law and Military Law also are hosting a public screening of the movie "Ground Operations: Battle Fields to Farm Fields" Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. in the Sussman Theater at the Olmsted Center. Filmmaker Dulanie Ellis will open and close the screening, which is open to the public.
Providing a forum for networking; registration is ongoing
Registration is ongoing for the National Stakeholders Conference but participants who register after 1 p.m. central time Nov.12 will not be guaranteed meals. More information including registration and location details can be found on the conference landing page.
Sponsors include Farm Credit System, Niman Ranch, Bob Woodruff Foundation, American Farm Bureau Federation, CHS Inc., AgrAbility, National Farmers Union, and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.