Milledgeville, Ga. – Soon veterans will be able to take their service from farm to table, as Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) in collaboration with STAG Vets, Inc. in Baldwin County, and Fort Valley State University (FVSU) received grant funding to create a sustainable foods technical certificate program.
The Sustainable Small Farm and Agriculture Technician Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC) is a 17-hour short-term, specialized TCC which will allow for an immersive curriculum of study that includes hands-on training in the production, management, and marketing of small-scale food production utilizing STAG Vets, Inc. and FVSU’s farmland for lab components of the certificate.
The TCC is the result of a multi-year project known as AG Tech to Success (AGTS), spearheaded by STAG Vets, Inc., a Georgia non-profit founded and operated by retired and disabled, Army veteran, L. Jonathan Jackson.
Jackson worked with CGTC over the last few years to bring this project to life. Part of the expectations for the project is to address the need to fill existing vacancies in Georgia’s food and agriculture production with a pool of qualified, trained and educated veterans.
However, CGTC is not limiting enrollment to only veterans. Anyone is welcome to apply.
Students can expect the program to feature co-curricular activities such as guest lectures from USDA representatives, farm visits, agricultural business trips and more; all designed to bolster the educational experience.
The project procured National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant funding to each member of the partnership, and more than $390,000 will be allocated to CGTC over three years to cover costs associated with developing the new program just like the food it hopes to produce; from the ground up.
“Receiving this grant is a great beginning to a very innovative and ambitious course of study that will benefit Georgia’s veteran student population, food and agriculture industry, and the consumer,” said Ret. Col. Patricia Ross, chief executive officer at the Georgia Veterans Career Transition Resource (VECTR) Center. “STAG Vets, FVSU, VECTR, and CGTC are excited to begin putting all the right steps in motion for more great opportunities for our veterans and their families.”
CGTC operates the VECTR Center where veterans, active duty military and their families come to train in many technical areas of study, aimed at transitioning from service to civilian. As the model for helping veterans through diverse programming has been established, cooperative partnerships and funding turn new projects into a reality.
The Sustainable Small Farm and Agriculture Technician program will be offered online, via class space on the Milledgeville campus of CGTC, and at farmland offered through STAG Vets’, Inc. at Comfort Farms in Milledgeville.
Director of the Milledgeville campus, Dr. Tatrabian Jackson said, “Farming and food production are such vital industries to central Georgia. What is even more distinct is for the College to be able to bring such a new, exciting, and fulfilling Sustainable Small Farm and Agriculture program to the community while continuously focusing on supporting our veterans.”
For more information, visit www.centralgatech.edu/agtech.