SAVE was founded in 2015 to address two national problems.
1) To give transitioning military members meaningful skills and job opportunities in agribusiness
2) To address the aging farmer population
We are a 501(C)3 Not for Profit based in Manhattan, KS. Our programs are open to everyone, not just veterans. SAVE assists in the placement of students upon completion of training.
We work with KSU or other Kansas Colleges to provide an accredited curriculum to students with certificates within one year. The program will provide instruction in crops, animals, farm maintenance (welding, auto repair and construction), will provide clinical services, and will provide mentor relationships with those currently in agribusiness.
USDA wants to save the single-family farm. They also want to provide special opportunities for transitioning service men and women and veterans. USDA states that over 60% of family farms are in their last generation of ownership and that the average age of the single family farmer is 59. Increasingly, the sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of the family farmer do not wish to work the farm, but will seek some kind of income from the farm. The SAVE program can provide service men and women and veterans who can assist the older farmers, a way to form an agreement to work to buy the farm or in some circumstances obtain their own financing to purchase a farm.
SAVE has established teaming agreements with Kansas State University, Manhattan Area Technical College, the University of Montana and Des Moines Area Community College and The Nature Conservancy. We have endorsements from (among others) Fort Riley, Manhattan and Junction City, Riley and Gary County, the Governor of Kansas, Kansas Farm Bureau, and the Kansas Department of Veterans Affairs. This effort has been supported by Senator Moran.
SAVE FARM. SAVE owns 320 acres 9 miles NW of Manhattan. SAVE also has use of parts of another 200 acres near Lecompton, KS in order to demonstrate specialty crops, like lavender and berries. In 2019 Corn, Sorghum, Alfalfa and Clover were produced, a large garden plot was prepared and fenced, 37 head of cattle were grazed and bred. Farm equipment is in place and donors have pledged most of the animals and poultry needed for operations and training.
APIARIES. Bee keeping training, including commercial bee keeping, is provided through on-line courses through the University of Montana and hands-on training from a Master Beekeeper. Over 400 have been trained. SAVE has 350 bee hives and will increase that amount to over 500 in 2020. Students can participate in the annual harvest and bottling of over 16,000 pounds of honey, and the interaction with our vendors. In addition, there will be opportunities to participate in the annual almond pollination in California.
CLINICAL. SAVE has partnered with KONZA Medical Clinics to provide medical care to students and graduates. Medical care includes general practice, dental and psychological.
ACQUISITION OF FARMS. With the assistance of the Kansas Agricultural Extension Service, farmers have been identified in several categories. Those who would mentor students; those who would like Interns; those who would like a student as a follow-on employee; those who would like a student to assume their family farm through some means. The Farm Credit Bureau will work with SAVE and the students to provide financial plans for the acquisition of farms.
Learning about lavender
SSG Clay Willis, a Soldier for Life Intern with SAVE, combines and loads soy beans from our farm during early November. Clay will farm in Georgia upon completion of his internship with SAVE.
PROGRESS TO DATE
Gained wide support. Federal, State, KSU, Farm agencies, government and non-government organizations, Sen Moran
Talented board; includes 8 KSU members; VA, all military services, farmers; 8 action committees.
- Academic Institutions. Cloud County Community College, Des Moines Area Community College, Kansas State University.
- Technical Schools. Manhattan Area Technical School.
- Medical. Konza Prairie Medical Clinic
- Conservation. The Nature Conservancy
- Governmental. USDA, KDA
DoD Career Skills
Soldier for Life (Fort Riley)
Over 400 vets have been helped to date
Evidence of relief from PTSD
80 placed on farms, 63 Interns have worked on farms
Farm Tours every Friday, over 50 participating farms
Purchased 320 acre farm, plus obtained use of another 200 acre farm
The Nature Conservancy and Conservation Fund providing fundraising support
Golden Prairie Honey Farms Business– Operational
Cloud County – Second year of Students enrolled in January