Veterans Agricultural Education and Apprenticeship Program in the Southwest

man in a greenhouse watering his crops


Hands-on and immersive training experience has been identified as a critical strategy to help returning military Veterans enter into and sustain successful careers in agriculture. The long-term/overarching goal of this program is to increase the number of military Veterans pursuing successful careers in food, agricultural and green industry sectors through a comprehensive, hands-on, and immersive training program jointly provided by the Painted Desert Demonstration Projects, Inc. (known as the STAR School), the University of Arizona (UA) - Cooperative Extension, Apex Applied Technology, Inc. (AATech) and several Arizona farms, food hubs, nursery/landscape businesses. 

The program will also increase the Veteran’s access to Federal, local, and/or private grants/loans by providing grant application/administration assistance. In addition, the program intends to offer therapeutic healing to Veterans through farming, animal caring, and green industry practices.


The program is free, flexible, and open now to any Arizona veteran.

Program Goals

To mitigate the challenges facing new Veteran farmers and ranchers, such as lack of capital, limited access to land, and lack of relevant knowledge, etc., the proposed program will have the following goals:

1. Provide active and targeted outreach to military Veterans in the Southwest.

2. Facilitate the Veterans’ connections to USDA, Cooperative Extension, VA, and other agencies.

3. Conduct on-going needs assessment.

4. Build a virtual collaborative network for job referral/placement.

5. Develop the curricula and provide classroom training/workshops on farming, ranching, green industry, and agribusiness development.

6. Develop the curricula and host apprenticeship trainings in model farms/businesses.

7. Host farm tours/filed trips to showcase innovation and sustainable farming practices.

8. Provide sustainable business assistance.

9. Provide grant assistance.

group of people harvesting crops in a greenhouse
men gathered around a tractor
group of people gathered around at a farm looking out onto the crops

Ready to immerse yourself in the world of agriculture?

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