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August 13, 2012

Webinar to highlight needs of veterans in agriculture

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The National AgrAbility Project and the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University will present a webinar to help Extension staff and other professionals meet the needs of military veterans in agriculture.

The webinar, "Veterans in Agriculture: Military 101," will be at 3 p.m. Aug. 30. It will cover topics such as the unique challenges that veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts face, dealing with visible and invisible disabilities, models and programs for injured and disabled veterans in agriculture, and the mission and work of the Military Family Research Institute.

The speaker will be Martina Mohrbacher, an outreach specialist for MFRI's Operation Diploma initiative. Mohrbacher is responsible for encouraging and assisting two- and four-year higher education institutions in Indiana to help further the educational and career success of student service members and veterans, with a special focus on veterans with disabilities.

"The webinar's goal is to provide knowledge of veterans' experiences with reintegration for professionals who work with veterans or plan to do so in the future," said Paul Jones, manager of Purdue's Breaking New Ground Resource Center, lead organization in the National AgrAbility Project. "The webinar will focus on some of the basic things that professionals would benefit from knowing about military service and the transition back into civilian life."

He added that while the webinar is especially geared toward those who work in fields such as Extension, the Veterans Administration or nonprofit organizations, it is open to anyone with an interest in veterans' issues.

The webinar, the first partnership between AgrAbility and MFRI, is one step in a continuing national initiative by AgrAbility to partner with veterans' advocacy organizations in providing services for veterans in agriculture.

"AgrAbility has been serving veterans since it began in 1991; Breaking New Ground has been doing so for even longer," Jones said. "Today, it's not just AgrAbility - other programs around the country are focusing on veterans and agriculture as well."

There is a therapeutic aspect of agriculture that many veterans appreciate, Jones said.

"One veteran told me that he is interested in agriculture because it is primarily mission-focused rather than time-focused - more like the work that he did while he was in the military," Jones said. "Other veterans have talked as well about the less stressful, more peaceful atmosphere of their agricultural work."

The webinar is free and open to the public. Registration is open until Aug. 24, at tinyurl.com/988kgum. Instructions for accessing the webinar will be sent to participants by  Aug. 27.

For more information, contact AgrAbility at 800-825-4264, agrability@agrability.org.

Writer: Jessica Merzdorf, 765-494-8402, jmerzdor@purdue.edu

Source: Paul Jones, 765-494-1221, jonesp@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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