January 9, 2020          

In this issue: State Veteran Farming & Agribusiness Conference, Heroes to Hives, VAP grants, NRCS help
PA Veteran Farming Conference
Friday, February 28, 2020    0830-1600
Pennsylvania Military Museum,  51 Boal Ave, Boalsburg, PA 16827 
Visit Event Website for more details.

Early bird conference fee of $15 for eligible attendees through January.

-FSA Loans, Microloans  
-NRCS Financial and Technical Assistance 
-USDA Rural Development: Value Added Producer Grants and other programs  
FSA, NRCS, & Rural Development staff will be on hand for 1-on-1 consultation throughout the day.
-Business Planning for new and experienced owner/operators
-Risk Management in Agritourism   
-Marketing Case Study: The Skirted Soldier 
-Non-Profit Farms Panel 
-Discipline groups (Beef/pork; Honey; Veggies, etc.)

Register online or download and mail your registration.

Pennsylvania Military Museum

Learning Opportunities
So You Want to Raise Sheep or Goats?  Montoursville, Lycoming Co., Feb. 4, 6:30 FREE

Beef Quality and Yield Grade Workshops, February 10 (State College) & 11 (Fayette Co.),  6-8:30 pm. Learn more.

Heroes to Hives logoHeroes to Hives, from Michigan State, is a 9-month program offering military veterans the opportunity to learn about beekeeping through instruction and mentorship. Video lessons are delivered by email to watch and learn on your own schedule.  3-6 hours required per month. Register by the end of February for 2020 season. Eligible veterans and their dependents are offered the instruction at no cost. 
For veterans near Pittsburgh Airport/Moon Township, Allegheny County, a hands-on beekeeping cadre will form at Navy veteran-owned Forever Heart Farm, LLC, with mentor farmer Rob Mowery, assisted by instructors from the Pennsylvania Beekeeping Association. Space will be limited to a small group to allow for individualized learning.  Interested veterans should apply to Heroes to Hives, and email us at for application information. Space is very limited for this opportunity.
Value Added Producer Grant program funds are available for marketing and equipment

Upcoming VAP workshop to be held in Westmoreland Co. soon--watch for details.

Homemade jamsNow accepting applications--deadline is March 10, 2020..
Even those who have never written a grant should consider applying-- USDA Rural Development staff can walk you through the process of applying.

"Value added" products are those--like goat milk soap, jerky, cheese, or beeswax candles--in which the end product is in a changed form from the raw material.  See the Federal Register tor eligibility. 
If interested in applying, contact Karen Kuhns, Area Specialist at (724) 261-3893, or e-mail to discuss your potential project. You may also visit

NRCS logo
New or established farm? Reach out to NRCS for technical and financial assistance

Technical and financial assistance can help you plan and implement conservation practices to improve water quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, establish or improve wildlife habitat and achieve other environmental benefits on cropland and pasture, forestland, and associated agricultural land including farmsteads.

Popular practices include those that support manure handling and storage systems; soil health improvement, such as cover crops and no till; pasture improvement, such as prescribed grazing and watering systems; forest improvement; and habitat improvement. Assistance for irrigation is available through the AMA program in Cumberland and Franklin counties and also in Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh, and Northampton counties.

 NRCS offers special initiatives through EQIP, including:

--On-Farm Energy Initiative: helps producers conserve energy on their operations.
--Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative: helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season into the cold months, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature, and conserve water and energy.
--Conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.

NRCS will work with you to develop a conservation plan on their land to identify concerns,  help determine objectives, and recommend solutions. 

NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off deadlines. Pennsylvania producers with applications in by January 31st will have a higher chance of application approval in 2020, as funding is limited. Applications received after that date will be accepted, if funds remain.

Interested  farmers should visit their local NRCS service center for sign-up information.

To participate in USDA conservation programs, applicants meet eligibility criteria. To take advantage of NRCS technical assistance and expertise, visit for applications and program information.

The PA Veteran Farming Project/Troops to Tractors is Pennsylvania's homegrown, grassroots connection hub for the military/veteran community in agriculture and agribusiness. We serve eligible military, veterans, and their spouses. There is no fee for our resource and referral service.

Thank you to the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement's 2501 Program, DAV Chapter 8--Pittsburgh, and Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation for their support. We operate under IRS-recognized 501c3 fiscal sponsorship. 



Copyright © 2020 PA Veteran Farming Project, All rights reserved.

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PA Veteran Farming Project · PO Box 65 · Forbes Road, PA 15633 · USA

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