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Program helping veterans transition into farming

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As the nation thanks its many veterans, Cornell University is making vets aware of a possible post-military opportunity.

Cornell’s Small Farms Program, Farm Ops, is designed to help veterans considering farming once they’re finished with their service.

There can be many obstacles to making this transition, so through a grant from the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program, the Cornell Small Farms Program initiated a statewide service provider network for organizations to support agriculture training for veterans.

In continuing this work, they plan to implement multiple education strategies to engage and train military veterans who want to farm.

Air Force Veteran Tricia Park helps other veterans gain farming skills by hosting tours and trainings through the Farm Ops program.

“From my experience working with them, they really just want something calmer that feeds their soul,” Park said. 

Park and her husband own Creekside Meadows Farm in New Woodstock, Madison County, not to far out of Fabius.

“We do grass fed beef, pasture raised pork, organic vegetables.  I also do a line of handcrafted soaps, we do popcorn, we do maple syrup,” she adds.

Park says despite growing up in rural Apulia Station, near Tully, farming wasn’t something she considered when she got out of the Air Force.

It was when she married into a small farm that it even got on her radar.

A few years ago after nearly a year of intense study on farming as a business did she decide to scale up her farm.

“It was how do you make the money and how do you have a good quality of life and how do you have that profit and find a balance with everything, and the community,” Park said. 

Park says programs like Farm Ops can help a vet with things like financial considerations, and possible physical limitations as well as the basics of growing and producing products.

For more information on the Farm Ops program click here.

To learn more about Creekside Meadows Farm click here.

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