Veterans of the U.S. Armed Services receive preference for NRCS conservation programs offered in the 2014 Farm Bill. These voluntary conservation programs benefit both agricultural producers and the environment, and include financial and technical assistance as well as easements.
When Did Veterans' Preference Become Available?
This preference became effective on Feb. 7, 2014, the day the 2014 Farm Bill was signed.
Preference will be given to eligible Veteran Farmers or Ranchers applying for several types of conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits. These include improved water and air quality, conserved surface and ground water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, and improved or created wildlife habitat.
CSP helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance — the higher the performance, the higher the payment.
An eligible Veteran Farmer or Rancher:
- meets the definition of a Beginning Farmer or Rancher
- has not operated a farm or ranch; or hasn’t operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 consecutive years
- was discharged or released, under conditions other than dishonorable, from the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, its reserve components and the National Guard
For a legal entity or joint operation to be considered a Veteran Farmer or Rancher entity, all members must meet the above definition. Veteran Farmers or Ranchers may also qualify as a Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher by meeting additional criteria.
How to Apply
To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted
Find your local USDA Service Center
Veteran Farmers Fact Sheet (PDF, 645KB)
To learn more about assistance for veterans provided by other USDA agencies, visit: http://www.usda.gov or http://www.outreach.usda.gov/veterans.htm
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