U.S. Army Veteran and Virginia Farmer Anita Roberson
Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. In honor of Veterans Day, we hear from Anita Roberson, a U.S. Army Veteran who started a post service career in agriculture. She and her husband Thomas, also a U.S. Army veteran, both proudly own a ten-acre farm in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, where they produce vegetables, fruit, flowers, and honey.
1. First off, thank you for your service. Tell us about your background and how you got into agriculture.
You are welcome! I grew up in a military family, but some of my fondest memories were of life on the farm with my paternal grandparents. They had an amazing flower and vegetable garden, working dogs, laying chickens, and Jersey cattle. Those magnificent impressions helped me to realize that I was destined to work in the sciences. As an undergraduate, I majored in biology and later joined the Army and served as a Medical Service Corps officer. Later I married a Physician Assistant who grew up on a farm. While serving in Germany, we purchased my aunt’s ten-acre farm so she could retire, thinking it would be an awesome opportunity to help us in our eventual retirement. It was one of the best decisions we made. After we returned to Virginia, we met an Extension Agent who invited us to attend a Small Farm Outreach Program and the rest is history. Read more »
Each day, nearly 1,300 veterans and their family members return to civilian life. USDA is helping many veterans transition from the military to agriculture.
In honor of Veterans Day, Deputy Under Secretary Lanon Baccam provided Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack with an overview of USDA’s support for veterans. Baccam, a proud army veteran, also serves as the Department’s Military Veterans Agriculture Liaison. Read more »
This year GIPSA hired 12 veterans in permanent employment positions, representing 18 percent of the agency’s permanent new hires.
With the political rhetoric finally over, there’s one inspiring message that everyone can agree with—our veterans already make America great every day. Every veteran who joined the military following the end of the draft in 1973 volunteered to serve our country. And they want to continue serving even after they packed away their uniforms.
During remarks delivered at Arlington Cemetery last year, the President noted that bringing veterans into the workforce shouldn’t necessarily reflect some moral obligation, charity or patriotism. Veterans, including those with disabilities, are simply good for business. Our veterans possess training, skills, leadership, and motivation ideally suited for public service. Following their commitment of service during one of the longest struggles in history, our veterans consistently reflect passion, resilience, and tenacity to get the job done. Their talents are seasoned by deployments, honed in many cases under the stress of combat, and forever shaped by an ethos dedicated to mission success. Read more »
U.S. Army Veteran Matt Smiley harvests heirloom tomatoes at Jacobs Farm in Pescadero, California. (Photo courtesy of Susanna Frohman)
Whether protecting our nation and its highest ideals with military service or ensuring a safe, abundant, and nutritious food supply as veterans, we are grateful for their willingness to serve.
For more than 35 years, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs have collaborated to support those who support America – the U.S. military Veterans and their families. These collaborations have helped thousands of military families gain access to the high quality educational programs in early childhood education, youth development, community capacity and related fields that land-grant university cooperative extension services provide. Read more »
From left, U.S. Army Veteran Jody Schnurrenberger, Hock-Newberry Farm operations owner; U.S. Coast Guard Veteran Erica Govednik; and U.S. Army Veterans Christine and David Hale Jr. at Hock-Dewberry Farm, an organically-managed, multi-species, rotational-grazing farm on rented land in Marshall, Va. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
At USDA, we are thankful for the military men and women who are serving or have served this nation. We are committed to providing them with opportunities for their next career to be in agriculture.
USDA employs more than 11,000 veterans and since 2009 have provided more than $505 million in direct farm loans to more than 7,400 veterans to start, maintain or grow their farming operations. USDA has service centers across the country where veterans can find out about farming and other USDA programs and services. Read more »
Jennifer Redell, a conservation biologist/cave and mine specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, gives a close up and personal look at a straw-coloured fruit bat, the most widely distributed of the African fruit bats. Bats fulfill many important ecosystem functions, such as pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds during their flights. (U.S. Forest Service)
Bats have quite the list of positive effects in our world, from the billions of dollars they save in pesticides to natural pollination and seed spreading. Bats eat about one-half of their body weight in insects each night.
We need bats.
In honor of our furry, flying mammal friends, consider pulling for bats during Bat Week from Oct. 24-31. You can make a difference, whether you get a group together to literally pull invasive plants to help improve habitat and food for bats or figuratively “pull” for bats by sharing why they are important to our ecosystem with your friends and family. And, the great news is that you don’t have to be an adult to help bats. Read more »