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. This 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: non-profits, businesses, philanthropists, government agencies, trade associations, and educators.

“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,” says 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, agricultural employers, civic leaders, farmer veterans, entrepreneurs, and others. The conference format will include panels on lessons learned to date, and sessions exploring the difficult question of coordinating programs and services.

“RAFI-USA has been responding to the growing needs of veterans interested in farming here in North Carolina. We are excited about getting together with organizations around the country to share information and to coordinate our work going forward. Returned veterans deserve our best work, and this gathering is an important part of delivering it” said RAFI’s Executive Director Scott Marlow.

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. 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 the National Stakeholders Conference is to provide a forum for networking and peer-to-peer learning, and to establish partnerships for long-term collaborations.

When: November 14-15, 2014
Where: Drake University Olmsted Center, Des Moines, Iowa
Cost: $125 by Oct. 15 – $150 after Oct. 15
Visit the conference website.
For information about exhibiting contact Matt Russell at 515-271-4956 or