Just three days after Veteran’s Day, Karis Gutter, a Marine Corps Reserve veteran and current USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS), was announced as the first USDA Military Veterans Agricultural (MVA) Liaison. The MVA Liaison will coordinate with USDA leadership to provide information, resources, and support for active duty military and veterans interested in agriculture.
“Serving as USDA’s first Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison is a great honor,” said Gutter. “As a Marine, I know military veterans have unique skills, training, and perspective. My job is to make sure military veterans have full access to USDA’s resources and services to help them succeed in civilian life.”
The MVA Liaison, which reports directly to the Office of the Secretary, is a new position created by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill also includes several programs that encourage more veterans to get involved with agriculture, including the Beginning Farmer and Rancher (BFR) Program.
“Many of America’s veterans come from our rural communities, and are often drawn back to the land upon returning to civilian life,” said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, who made the announcement. “USDA already has a number of initiatives to help veterans find meaningful work in agriculture upon returning home, but this new position will help coordinate our efforts and make programs easier to navigate. I look forward to Karis’ leadership as we continue to support America’s heroes.”