On Nov. 11, 2015, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack let his staff at USDA know a few things about Veterans Day, starting with the fact that USDA has made a concerted effort to hire more than 11,000 veterans to date.
“In recent years, we’ve expanded our commitment to bringing on board more former service members, participating in a wide variety of veterans’ hiring efforts coordinated with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense,” he says.
Vilsack also made note of the formation of the USDA Veterans Employment Program office, wherein veterans can access counseling, career help and employment consideration.
Other outreach efforts include helping more than 6,500 veterans secure more than $400 million in farm loans for farmland and equipment purchases and upgrades. A separate “microloan program” has provided more than $24 million to 1,154 veterans to grow their farming operations.
“When Service members return home, we want them to know that rural America has a place for them and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has tools and resources to help them follow their dream of starting a farm or ranch business-no matter where they're from,” Vilsack says.