The Veteran’s Farm of NC, Inc. is a farm designed and dedicated to returning service members and veterans of all eras to educate on all aspects of agriculture. VFNC helps them learn through on farm production models of sustainable livestock production and organic vegetable production. Other mentorship opportunities with conventional farms are utilized for specialized interests for veterans wishing to learn about other avenues of farm production models.
Agriculture and agribusiness constitute a huge industry in North Carolina, contributing $84 billion of the annual gross state product (Walden, 2016), nonetheless NC agriculture faces a significant challenge. The average age of a North Carolina farmer is 58.9 years and NC farms are quite diverse in nature with over 50,000 farms, most being between 10-49 acres. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2012a). North Carolina certainly needs to add new farm entrepreneurs to replace those retiring to keep up with the growing food demands of a rising population globally.
Another major player in NC’s economy is the military with a, “significant impact on the state’s economy.” (Levy, 2015) American Community Survey estimates that more than 666,000 military service members and veterans call North Carolina home (Tippett, 2018).
One avenue to address the issues of agriculture is to assist, educate, mentor, and train exiting military personnel and veterans where it is most effective to do so. Fort Bragg, NC is the largest populated US Army base, serving 238,646 active duty and reserve Soldiers and veterans, civilian employees, and family members within the local area (Militarybases.us, 2019).
MEET THE BOARD!
Robert Hosford was selected as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Agricultural Finance Authority
In 2019 Hosford assumed the role as State Director, Rural Development/USDA based in Raleigh. During his tenure Rural Development efforts obligated close to $4 Billion into rural North Carolina communities,
towns and counties. These expenditures came in the form of single family housing loans, water and environmental projects, business and industry loans and grants, firehouses, libraries, charter schools and rural hospitals.
He joined the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2010, in the International Marketing Division. He specialized in export of: cotton, forestry products, Christmas Trees and meat products.
Currently, he serves as the Director of Intergovernmental and Military Affairs. In this effort he spends a great deal of time working on foreign direct investment and economic development projects for rural North Carolina..
Prior to NCDA&CS, Hosford was the President of pH Solutions, a London based clean water solution.
In 2004, Hosford was appointed by President George W. Bush as the Chief of Staff of the Farm Service Agency/USDA in Washington D.C. In that capacity he oversaw the day to day operations of the 16,000 employee agency. Additionally, he served as the Special Advisor to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). In 2006, he accepted additional responsibilities with The President’s Council on Environmental Quality(CEQ). During this time he was also asked to serve on the Secretaries Energy Council that was Co-Chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman.
In 1998, Hosford joined the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) based in Fort Worth, Texas as the Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs. While with TSCRA he was the government affairs advocate on behalf of the 20,000 member organization focusing his efforts in the 3 state legislatures of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and the 3 Congressional delegations.
During his time in Texas he did postgraduate studies at Texas A&M University at College Station.
After graduating from Mississippi State University with a degree in Agricultural Journalism, Hosford accepted a position as the Director of Agricultural Policy with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in the Washington D.C. office. During that time, he handled all appropriations issues, the 1996 Farm Bill legislation and all conservation policy issues.
Hosford was born and raised on a diversified row crop, forestry and livestock operation in Mississippi.
Robert and his daughter reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Robin Tutor Marcom
Dr. Robin Tutor Marcom is Director of the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute. The Institute is a partnership among East Carolina, NC State and NC A&T State Universities. Its mission is to promote the health and safety of farmers, fishermen, foresters, their workers and their families. The mission is accomplished through research, prevention/intervention and education/outreach. The Institute serves all 100 counties of North Carolina and other states by request. The daughter of a World War II veteran wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, Robin grew up on a North Carolina farm and is the proud mother of a farmer/logger. She considers it a privilege to be able to combine her personal and professional passions to serve our state’s agricultural communities.
Kate Bishop, originally born and raised in southern Missouri, came into farming naturally. Her family farm raised all manner of livestock and she was taught homesteading skills from an early age, such as canning, sewing, and processing livestock. Kate joined the Air Force after high school and was stationed at Whiteman AFB, MO, assigned to work on the B-2 Stealth Bomber.
She met her first husband Brian on the flightline and had two children, Nathan and Emily. After ten years on the flightline, she changed jobs. She attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia and was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) as a Special Agent. Kate was transferred to Ramstein AB, Germany, and completed numerous short temporary duties and a deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan during her time with AFOSI. Kate was then transferred to Seymour Johnson AFB, NC, and became a single mom. Kate later met her current husband Garrett, in 2014.
Garrett has two children, Amber and Jackson. In 2016, Kate received an honorable discharge and began a small homestead with Garrett in Smithfield. They raised a large variety of fowl and small livestock. They finally settled
on chickens, and turkeys, but had spent many years attempting to locate local sources of beef and dairy. Late in 2021, Kate and Garrett made the decision to grow their farm into a business and begin milking cows, raising beef, and continuing to raise chickens for eggs and meat, as well as offer turkey for sale. Kate currently teaches homesteading classes such as canning, and butter
and cheese making. She also conducts tours for new farmers with the Veteran’s Farm, as well as other small homesteaders or future farmers wishing to start their own dairy operation.