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Sterling Heritage Farm Instruction for Veterans

With a growing number of veterans transitioning from military to civilian life, the need for vocational rehabilitation is in high demand. While the Department of Veterans Affairs has made significant strides in improving access for veterans and providing them with various options to restore employability, there are several cases in which the veteran is either unaware of the options, or unable to utilize the resources available. The VA is aware of these challenges and has made the necessary adjustments, taking into account those veterans who are unable to easily access training courses.

Sterling Heritage is working with the Veterans Benefits Administration to provide effective, personalized, and encouraging one-on-one instruction to farmers in Biloxi and Philadelphia, Mississippi. Our farm instructors have been working with veterans to assess farm conditions and offer recommendations on how best to combat any challenges the veteran farmer may face. Our instructors also offer their expertise on a multitude of farming skills, all of which aid in making the veteran’s farm operational and revenue-generating.

Sterling Heritage’s farming instructors have been working with community youth in Mississippi for several years and are now working with veterans in not only offering instruction and expertise on their existing farms, but also working to educate the veteran on the benefits of transitioning from conventional to organic farming. With the instructor’s extensive knowledge in organic farming, the veteran now has the opportunity to work side-by-side with an established organic farmer and community educator.

In assisting the veterans with their farms, our instructors have also been successful in significantly improving farm conditions for veteran farms. The photo on the right shows several piglets on a veteran’s farm in Biloxi,MS. Because of its geographically location, farmers in Biloxi have greater setbacks in overall farming due to less-than favorable soil conditions. The abundant rainfall and relative humidity oftentimes leads to flooding, which makes it much more difficult for the veteran to effectively use all his or her land for operational farming. Because of this, the veteran’s piglets were at risk of drowning in the flooded farm land. With the help of our farm instructor, the veteran was able to successfully build a safe area for water to quickly drain and reduce the risk of the piglets drowning. The photo on the right shows the happy and healthy piglets that have survived the harmful soil conditions in Biloxi.

Sterling Heritage as a whole is extremely excited and honored to aid the VA in their mission to enhance benefits for veterans, specifically in the area of sustainable farming. To ensure success in this effort, Sterling Heritage VP, Sue Walsh, is in constant contact with case managers at the VBA and our farming instructors to meet the needs of veteran farmers and offer the best possible support to the veteran, our instructors, and our government client. We hope to continue working with the VA on efforts to increase veteran participation in VR&E programs and illustrate our dedication to providing better standards of living for our nation’s veterans. With the right education and instruction, we believe veterans can be the next generation of organic farmers, and we are honored to take part in that journey.

MS farmers

The Story of Sugar

This August, National Geographic published an article, “Sugar Love (A not so sweet story),” which explores the origin, history, and transformation of sugar in our society and its ultimately catastrophic effect on human health. Check out the article here.

Photo Credit: National Geographic

Photo Credit: National Geographic

 

The Problems With Factory Farming

Did you know that about 80% of the nation’s antibiotics use in total are added to animal feed every year? And these antibiotics aren’t serving as medicine to save the lives of the poor animals, but to speed livestock growth. Factory farming has been dominating the world of agriculture and food production for years, mainly due to the economic gains associated with fast production of meat products. But what many fail to realize is that this quick production of meat and poultry can cause serious harm to the human immune system. What goes into the animal feed ultimately ends up in our stomachs, and the antibiotics used to speed livestock growth can impact our body’s immune system by making us resistant to certain antibiotics. By constantly consuming this chemically modified food, we are decreasing the effectiveness of certain antibiotics used to treat human illnesses. Other issues associated with factory farming include the high risk of foodborne illness like E. coli and Salmonella. The unhealthy conditions in factory farms make animals more prone to disease and infection and pose serious threats to the animals themselves. Not only does factory farm harm our public health and create unimaginably horrendous conditions for livestock, but it also negatively impacts our environment by producing high methane emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, factory farming accounts for 37% of methane emissions, and methane has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2. These serious threats to public health, animal welfare, and the air we breathe should outweigh the economic gains by factory farming and more needs to be done to prevent the growth of industrialized farming.

This is why Sterling Heritage Solutions hopes to push and promote local organic farming and sustainable agriculture. We believe that organic farming is one of the most important factors in promoting healthy lifestyles and achieving overall better health for humans, animals, and our environment. By helping local organic farms grow we will help in reducing the need for factory farming little by little. It is our goal to promote local organic farming by educating the public of its benefits and encouraging support of local farms.