From War To Plow: Why USDA Wants Veterans To Take Up Farming



By Abby Wendle

Sara Creech has grown dependent on farming. She started out planting an orchard of fruit trees: apples, peaches, cherries and pears. She added berry bushes and rows of vegetables.

And then she bought her first chickens.

“A lot of people call chickens the gateway animal,” says Creech, who lives in rural North Salem, Ind. “Like once you have a chicken on the farm, then you end up getting sheep on the farm, and then you end up getting horses, and cows. And then it just explodes from there.”

Creech served as a surgery nurse during the Iraq War. She has a master’s degree and 16 years of experience. But she turned to farming when her career in nursing fell apart.

As many as one in five Iraq War veterans came home from service with PTSD. Creech was one of them. She said PTSD made returning to nursing impossible. Her depression and anxiety became so severe, she says she felt like she was dangerous to her patients.

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