Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (R-IL) and Al Lawson (D-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation to make more United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) apprenticeships available to veterans. The Veterans’ Agricultural Apprenticeship Act instructs the USDA to work with state departments of agriculture to identify farmers and ranchers eligible for a direct loan to train apprentice veterans.  The loan would, in turn, be paid back to the USDA after the harvest season.

“Our bipartisan bill provides a common sense solution for helping our farmers and ranchers fill jobs and expand their operations, while offering our veterans new skills and a potential career path after their service,” said Bost. “Representative Lawson and I sit right next to each other in the House Agriculture Committee, we both have rural economies in our districts, and we both know there’s no more dedicated workforce than our returning military men and women.   I’m proud to carry this bill right before Veterans Day to give a hand up to our returning heroes.”

“Our bill helps prioritize veterans by getting them the on-the-job training they need to be successful in farming,” said Rep. Lawson. “This program also ensures that veterans have access to quality jobs when they return home, and helps to feed our country.”

According to the USDA, nearly 45 percent of veterans come from rural America.  Over the next 20 years, it is projected that our nation will need 700,000 new agricultural workers. 

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