Marines and Sailors interested in pursuing a career in agriculture can participate in the Incubator Farm Program, which provides prospective farmers with the knowledge and skills to become an agricultural producer.
"The program is a schoolhouse for new farmers," said Tim McCurry, Marine Corps Liaison with G-7, Government and External Relations. "It gives service members the option to pursue agriculture as a career."
The program has four locations in North Carolina, with one located on Richlands Highway just 15 minutes from Jacksonville.
The program is set to start up its curriculum again, after a year-long hiatus, and service members and wounded warriors will have the opportunity to take part in the three-year program.
"If you like growing things and want to make a career out of it, (the program) is the best thing for you," said Robert Roberts, Marine Corps veteran and Incubator Farm Program graduate. "Growing up, my family always had a garden. Eventually I want to own my own farm."
After transitioning out of the Marine Corps or Navy, some service members stay in the local area, where agriculture is a key factor in the economy.
Veterans, such as Roberts, who stay local and farm, continue to support the Marine Corps by providing the base community access to fresh produce through the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s farmer’s market.
"From a military standpoint, everyone benefits from supporting agriculture," said McCurry. "Farmers can maintain their land and training areas are preserved for aircraft through less lights and tall structures being built."