The Secretary shall establish in the Department the position of Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison.
The Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison shall—
(1) provide information to returning veterans about, and connect returning veterans with, beginning farmer training and agricultural vocational and rehabilitation programs appropriate to the needs and interests of returning veterans, including assisting veterans in using Federal veterans educational benefits for purposes relating to beginning a farming or ranching career;
(2) provide information to veterans concerning the availability of, and eligibility requirements for, participation in agricultural programs, with particular emphasis on beginning farmer and rancher programs;
(3) serve as a resource for assisting veteran farmers and ranchers, and potential farmers and ranchers, in applying for participation in agricultural programs;
(4) advocate on behalf of veterans in interactions with employees of the Department;
(5) establish and periodically update the website described in subsection (d); and
(6) in carrying out the duties described in paragraphs (1) through (5), consult with and provide technical assistance to any Federal agency, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Administration, and the Department of Labor.
(c) Contracts and cooperative agreements
For purposes of carrying out the duties under subsection (b), the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison may enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with the research centers of the Agricultural Research Service, institutions of higher education (as defined in section 1001 of title 20), or nonprofit organizations for—
(1) the conduct of regional research on the profitability of small farms;
(2) the development of educational materials;
(3) the conduct of workshops, courses, and certified vocational training;
(4) the conduct of mentoring activities; or
(5) the provision of internship opportunities.
(d) Website required (1) In general
The website required under subsection (b)(5) shall include the following:
(A) Positions identified within the Department of Agriculture that are available to veterans for apprenticeships.
(B) Apprenticeships, programs of training on the job, and programs of education that are approved for purposes of chapter 36 of title 38.
(C) Employment skills training programs for members of the Armed Forces carried out pursuant to section 1143(e) of title 10.
(D) Information designed to assist businesses, nonprofit entities, educational institutions, and farmers interested in developing apprenticeships, on-the-job training, educational, or entrepreneurial programs for veterans in navigating the process of having a program approved by a State approving agency for purposes of chapter 36 of title 38, including—
(i) contact information for relevant offices in the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, and Small Business Administration;
(ii) basic requirements for approval by each State approving agency;
(iii) recommendations with respect to training and coursework to be used during apprenticeships or on-the-job training that will enable a veteran to be eligible for agricultural programs; and
(iv) examples of successful programs and curriculums that have been approved for purposes of chapter 36 of title 38 (with consent of the organization and without any personally identifiable information).
(2) Review of website (A) In general
Not later than 5 years after December 20, 2018, and once every 5 years thereafter, the Secretary shall conduct a study to determine if the website required under subsection (b)(5) is effective in providing veterans the information required under paragraph (1).
(B) Ineffective website
If the Secretary determines that the website is not effective under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall—
(i) notify the agriculture and veterans committees described in subparagraph (C) of that determination; and
(ii) not earlier than 180 days after the date on which the Secretary provides notice under clause (i), terminate the website.
(C) Agriculture and veterans committees
The agriculture and veterans committees referred to in subparagraph (B)(i) are—
(i) the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives;
(ii) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate;
(iii) the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives; and
(iv) the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate.
(e) Consultation required
In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall consult with organizations that serve veterans.
(f) Report (1) In general
Not later than 1 year after December 20, 2018, and annually thereafter, the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison shall submit a report on beginning farmer training for veterans and agricultural vocational and rehabilitation programs for veterans to—
(A) the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives;
(B) the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives;
(C) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate; and
(D) the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate.
(2) Contents of report
The report submitted under paragraph (1) shall include—
(A) a summary of the measures taken to carry out subsections (b) and (c);
(B) a description of the information provided to veterans under paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b);
(C) recommendations for best informing veterans of the programs described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b);
(D) a summary of the contracts or cooperative agreements entered into under subsection (c);
(E) a description of the programs implemented under subsection (c);
(F) a summary of the employment outreach activities directed to veterans;
(G) recommendations for how opportunities for veterans in agriculture should be developed or expanded;
(H) a summary of veteran farm lending data and a summary of shortfalls, if any, identified by the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison in collecting data with respect to veterans engaged in agriculture; and
(I) recommendations, if any, on how to improve activities under subsection (b).
(g) Public dissemination of information (1) In general
Not later than 1 year after December 20, 2018, and annually thereafter, the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison shall make publicly available and share broadly, including by posting on the website of the Department—
(A) the report of the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison on beginning farmer training for veterans and agricultural vocational and rehabilitation programs; and
(B) the information disseminated under paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b).
(2) Further dissemination
Not later than the day before the date on which the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison makes publicly available the information under paragraph (1), the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison shall provide that information to the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Administration, and the Department of Labor.
PRIOR PROVISIONS A prior section 6919, Pub. L. 103–354, title II, §219, Oct. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 3213, provided that compensation of any officer or employee of the Department on Oct. 13, 1994, was not to be increased as a result of enactment of this chapter, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 105–277, div. A, §101(e) [title III, §362], Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–231, 2681–305.AMENDMENTS 2018—Subsec. (b)(5), (6). Pub. L. 115–334, §12402(1), added pars. (5) and (6). Subsecs. (d) to (g). Pub. L. 115–334, §12402(2), added subsecs. (d) to (g).
7 U.S.C. § 6919 (2018)