Veterans’ Voices: WV military pilot looks to regenerative agriculture at his farm

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — In 2017, Military pilot Joshua Nelson was flying into Kurdish territory overseas on deployment.

“It was right in the height of all of the ISIS stuff and as we were flying the mission, you’re looking on the ground, there are firefights everywhere and the Kurdish people were down there farming right in the middle of that, and it kind of spoke to me,” said Nelson.

Courtesy: Joshua Nelson

It was a poignant moment for him, and he has since found refuge in farming in between deployments.

Nearing retirement after 13 years in the military, Nelson is looking forward to the day where he can be a full-time rancher.

His farm in Ripley, the Nelson Family Farms, recently received a Farmer Veterans Coalition award.

He and his wife currently sell pasture-raised pork, chicken, eggs, and cattle through Farmhouse Naturals.

“We have a lot of people who travel from Beckley from Huntington from all over the place who really care about how their animals are raised, that care a lot about the environment and where their stuff’s coming from,” said Nelson.

Nelson hopes to contribute to national food security, by making farming more sustainable.

His farm is partially automated, his animals eat non-GMO corn – if at all, and the cows are raised in such a way that they allow the grass to grow faster, consuming more carbon monoxide than it puts back into the soil.

“I think there are much larger regenerative agriculture companies than we are out there that are changing the way that big agriculture is doing things,” said Nelson.

“I think there are much larger regenerative agriculture companies than we are out there that are changing the way that big agriculture is doing things.”

Joshua Nelson, farmer veteran

Nelson believes farming helps veterans find purpose after the life they’ve had.

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