The SAVE Farm Is Awarded Nearly $1 Million Grant To Train Veterans How To Farm

Funding comes on heels of new core curriculum and classes beginning in January

Manhattan, Kan. – The Service Member Agricultural Vocation Education (SAVE) Farm, is a proud recipient of nearly $1 million from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to expand its programs headquartered just north of Manhattan, Kansas.

“We’re thrilled to be a partner of the USDA and for this critical work we are doing with veterans and service members to be recognized nationwide,” says Col. (ret.), Gary LaGrange, SAVE Farm co-founder and president. “With this grant, and one previously awarded, we hired our first veteran staff members and will begin our first courses in January at Cloud County Community College, Manhattan Area Technical College, and Kansas State University. NIFA provided grants totaling nearly $7 million this year for veteran programs enhancing American agriculture and building the economic viability of agriculture and production nationwide.

At the SAVE Farm, veterans are training to become the next generation of American farmers through its diverse, one-year accredited program. From livestock and row crop management to woodworking and diverse sustainable farming practices, participants will experience classroom and immersive, hands-on training.

“We are passionate about preserving, protecting and promoting the agriculture industry and we very much believe in the SAVE Farm’s mission,” says Nancy Zenger-Beneda, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Cloud County Community College in Concordia. “We welcome this great opportunity for our students to get more hands-on work while learning to value and respect what the military does for our country.”

The first SAVE Farm cohort begins Jan. 23. Applications are being accepted now through mid-January, but space is limited so early applications are encouraged.

Click here to read the SAVE Farm story. Go to and click on the “More” tab for details on our curriculum and application process. Questions? contact Victoria Cherrie, 816-810-4143.


The SAVE Farm provides a pathway to farming for transitioning veterans and service members through a one-year accredited training program. In partnership with Kansas State University, community colleges and organizations across the country, the farm will serve as a national model for filling the deficit of one million farmers in America over the next decade while helping veterans cope from their seen and unseen combat wounds.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.