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The AGgregator

From the Army Field to the Growing Field

Farm Credit is proud to support the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC)through the National Contributions Program. In this guest blog post, FVC introduces Evan Premer, just one of the many veterans transitioning to civilian life on the farm and ranch. Are you a veteran looking to begin your career? FVC has created the Veteran Careers in Agriculture: A Resource Guide to help with everything from training opportunities to business plans.

Growing up, Evan Premer was surrounded by fields. His family had small gardens and ranches, so farming has always been a part of his life. As an adult, Evan went to another field—the Army—where he completed tours of duty in Germany and Iraq. After he completed his service, he returned back to the open fields, gaining valuable agricultural training at Circle Fresh Farms, with the help of FVC's partner in Colorado, Veterans to Farmers.

Though he had no prior experience or degree in agriculture, Evan found the work therapeutic and rewarding. During his time at Circle Fresh Farms, an organization based in Colorado that is dedicated to growing produce in the community for the community, Evan learned about hydroponic greenhouse production. This form of production uses mineral nutrient solutions to grow plants and produce—all without using soil. As a result, food produced using hydroponic methods are easier to harvest and better for consumption since there is no pesticide damage.

After completing his training at Circle Fresh Farms, Evan created Aero Farm Co, which grows micro greens, baby greens and culinary herbs for local restaurants in the Colorado area. Evan also distributes his produce to Shamrock Foods, a Rocky Mountain distributor. To grow his produce, Evan uses a specialized hydroponic rack system and is piloting a new aeroponic tower growing system for his baby greens and culinary herbs. In February Evan was awarded $5,000 towards the purchase of his equipment from FVC's Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund.

For Evan, transitioning from the military to agriculture has been “a big help in keeping [him] grounded” and that it is “gratifying to be able to work with [his] hands.” Reflecting on the importance of providing locally grown, fresh produce to local communities, Evan observes “Farming has been a lost art to some …By offering the community better, higher quality foods just down the street from their house, the community will be more in touch with where their foods are coming from.”