When Iraq war veteran Mike Simester returned to Iowa, his time in the Army had expired — and so did his identity and sense of purpose.

The 37-year-old now finds himself thriving in what once seemed the most unlikely of places: 10 acres of farmland in rural Iowa that is home to apple and peach trees, rows of vegetables and scores of chickens that demand his daily attention.

His transition from battlefield to farm field underscores a growing trend in America: Thousands of young military personnel are finding themselves drawn to jobs on farms and ranches.

The trend not only benefits the former soldier, it is a win-win for agriculture which has struggled to deal with its aging population. – Read the full story in the Des Moines Register.

An organization called Ground Operations supports veterans to transition into sustainable farming. Their mission is to reach returning war veterans to plant a seed about a career in sustainable farming, and then to connect them with the training, resources, and programs they need to be successful. Learn more

Photo: “Field of Gold” by Steve Simons – Early August, Mid Sussex, England

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