Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots

“You can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery.”
             - Norman Borlaug
               Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
               American Agricultural Scientist



Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots is a University of Nebraska - Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) program designed to assist eligible military personnel, their families and armed forces veterans to become Farmers, Ranchers, and Business Entrepreneurs in their next careers. Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots utilizes existing programs funded by the federal Department of Agriculture, Small Business Administration, Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, and various state and local agencies to create successful business succession plans that match participants with existing farm/business/ranch owners.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture manages the education and training of participants, helps coordinate all funding, and maintains contact with participants to train them as future mentors. The University works with USDA Farm Service Agency loan programs to assist participants in selecting the enterprise—whether full or part-time—that will work best for their goals.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture works closely with military members, their families and veterans to be sure that they become eligible to become farm/ranch/business owners. The College ensures that participants are aware of the benefits available from Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots. All service members, families, and veterans are encouraged to contact The University of Nebraska - Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture for information and assistance in becoming an entrepreneur and a leader in rural America.

Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots

Garrett Dwyer

Garrett Dwyer
Veterans Coordinator

In 2008, United States Marine Corps Veteran Garrett Dwyer, a member of the acclaimed “Rage Company” Infantry Unit in Iraq, returned to Nebraska after his tour of duty. Wanting to run the family cattle business, he enrolled in the University of Nebraska’s - Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture’s 100 Beef Cow Ownership program. Garrett built his business plan, purchased 125 head of cattle and began a dialogue with the administration regarding outreach to the military. After initial research by NCTA, “Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots” was developed to counsel and recruit members of the military, advising them on ways to achieve full ownership of agricultural enterprises across Nebraska and the nation.