GA agricultural program helps vets and civilians start their own - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

GA agricultural program helps vets and civilians start their own farm

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

An agricultural program is teaching those in and outside of the military about the benefits of farming.
   
On a three-city tour, the workshop gained the attention of several people in the Chattahoochee Valley area.

A former combat veteran says farming is important for people who want clean, organic food that is locally sourced. 

The theme of the program is "STAG Vets-Seeds of Prosperity-Farming as a Business."
   
The workshop, which was held on the camp grounds of Fort Benning on Wednesday, is sponsored by a grant in Partnership with Fort Valley State University and USDA-Farm Services Agency.
   
Their goal is to teach vets and civilians the different areas of becoming successful when starting a new farm.
    
The program uses Fort Valley's Mobile Information Technology Center to present information from various government agencies to 20 beginning farmers.

"It is profitable and especially being a disabled veteran, there's a lot of government opportunities for you that I learned here today. That's why personally I want to do this route having served, now civilian," said Matthew Joyce, a medically retired sergeant.

"I'm a techie. I want to take my 22 years of my career. It's not going to waste cause I want to be a farmer. I want to take that and create that next generation of youth who knows so much about technology and evolve their love of the land and feeding themselves," said new farmer Perdetsa Muhammad..

Muhammad is leaving a 22-year career as a tech consultant to own 15 acres of farm land in Phenix City called Echo Blue farm.

The next workshop will be on the campus of Fort Valley on Thursday. They've also held a workshop in Albany.

Founder and CEO Jon Jackson opened Comfort Farms in January through his nonprofit STAG Vets to provide a holistic approach for vets suffering with PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

"They are giving them some really good information on where to start, what do you need to do before you put a seed in the ground or raise an animal. We feel that anybody who wants to get in farming to understand what they are getting into and what they actually need," said Jackson.

STAG Vets is an acronym for Strength to Achieve Greatness.
  
It was based in Columbus before relocating to a Comfort Farms in Milledgeville earlier this year.

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