CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - Members of the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture toured the "Nelson Family Farms" in Ripley Friday. Josh Nelson is a Marine, Iraq War Veteran, who now serves in the West Virginia Air National Guard. He and his wife and his dad launched the 50-acre farm, but now want to buy an additional two-hundred acres for a cattle farm. The federal government may be able to offer some assistance because he is a veteran. Nelson loves being a farmer:
"It's pretty therapeutic you know, to get out there and work with the animals. It's a different type of business. It's relaxing. It provides a great sense of purpose, especially. when your customers get there and they tell you how good of a product it is," said Josh Nelson, of Nelson Family Farms.
With the Nelson family wanting to expand, they sat down with SBA and federal agriculture officials to learn more about possible loans, education and training, and what is specifically available to those who've served their country.
"To teach veterans how to do just that. How to show them, basically how to start a business, grow a business, expand a business, export their product. Do everything they need to do to grow and exceed," said Michelle Christian, Small Business Administration.
The Nelson farm has been operating in Ripley for two years, raising chickens, goats, turkeys and more. Getting federal help for veterans is seen as a plus.
"Not only are you trying to raise animals, or crops, you're also trying to figure out how to turn that into a profit. So I think, in the beginning, providing the encouragement of a clear path forward and how this thing works is a what they can do best," said Josh Nelson, Nelson Family Farm.
Other veterans can find out more about starting their own business at SBA-dot-gov.
"The Small Business Administration now says 5-million Americans bow working in Veteran-owned business, generating an economic impact of over one trillion dollars a year," said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.