S.A.V.E. – A Pathway to Farming for Veterans and Servicemembers
S.A.V.E. - Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education - Farm is a non-profit organization that provides hands-on immersion farm training for military servicemembers as they transition to civilian life.
The S.A.V.E. teaching farm consists of 2000 acres of crop land, livestock animals, orchards, horticulture and apiaries in Kansas.
This teaching farm will train over 100 veterans and servicemembers through an entire growing season cycle.
Pioneer Tech Team members, Territory Managers, and Sales Representatives are volunteering time and resources to this effort.
This ongoing effort is intended to ensure these veterans and servicemembers get the training they need to manage the crop through the entire cropping cycle.
Territory Manager Clint Pickard and Pioneer Sales Representative Mike Meier connected with a motivated new audience by partnering with S.A.V.E. Farm, an organization that helps military veterans and transitioning servicemembers learn agriculture and find job placement in the field.
According to S.A.V.E. Farm founder Col. Gary LaGrange, U.S. Army, Retired, “There are 2.3 million post-9/11 veterans and transitioning military folks in the U.S. today, and 40 percent want to get into farming. At the same time, 63 percent of our farms are in the last generation. S.A.V.E. Farm was created to bridge the gap.”
LaGrange says his students find tremendous recovery and healing in farming, particularly those suffering from anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress as a result of their service experience.
"It’s a healing thing for them to get out and work with soil, work with animals, work with plants in a relatively quiet environment."
Six Pioneer agronomists, one technical product manager, and three territory managers joined together to host a half-day workshop, with seed, supplies and technology provided by Pioneer.
Held in June 2018 at a S.A.V.E. Farm field in Manhattan, KS., the workshop offered a basic introduction to row-crop agriculture, covering several topics related to both corn and soybeans:
Weeds and pests
“Don’t underestimate the power of your teammates to sign onto your cause and unify behind Pioneer and Corteva to get some cool things done together,” Clint Pickard, says.
“The fact that they are generous enough to donate materials and their time speaks volumes about, not just the importance of this work, but their values as a company.” - Col. Gary LaGrange, Founder, S.A.V.E. Farm
Photos from Pioneer Training Events with S.A.V.E
S.A.V.E Features and Goals
From the S.A.V.E. Website:
Healing center on site or adjacent for those in need of special treatment.
Provide a home-like training center where they can learn to farm and heal.
After training, transitioning servicemembers and veterans will be matched with mentor farms.
Potential to work on, manage, or even own their farm.