Larry Byers has always been interested in the environment and organic agriculture. Since he was a young boy, Larry’s father was always spending time with him in the woods, tending to the family’s an organic garden and teaching him the value of recycling. His father even established a recycling center in their home town.
Larry enlisted in the Army in 1983 as an Infantryman. During his enlistment he operated heavy machinery, trained in Desert Warfare and was chosen to preform high-profile ceremonial duties. At that time, Larry was not thinking about organic agriculture but does contribute his fascination with soil structure to all the 6 ft. fighting positions he had to dig.
After his enlistment with the Army was finished, Larry went on to be a high school guidance counselor. Even though he loved his job, the kids and being an essential part of their lives, he still felt like he had another mission in life. After he retired he started looking more into organic agriculture and ways in which he could learn more about the subject.
In 2015, he went to the PA Farm Show and was thrilled to learn about the Organic Farming Certificate Program that Rodale and DelVal had available to veterans but did not want to go back to a classroom. Larry applied to our ASC program and worked with them for the 2016 growing season. He was an integral part of their team and was validated in his feelings of knowing he had “another mission” in his life. After completing the eight-month internship, he was invigorated with the passion to learn and experience as much as he could about organic farming.
In May 2017, he applied to our Veteran Farmer Training Programs and was accepted. Larry is learning about his other organic interests this time around; composting, livestock management, apiary, tractors and implements and orchard maintenance. When he completes his training, Larry hopes are to be able to educate other farmers about organic agriculture.