WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, today announced that the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Hershel Woody Williams VA Medical Center, has been awarded $400,000 in federal funding for the implementation of a new agritherapy pilot program. The funding, through the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Rural Health, will be used to provide agricultural training and behavioral health care services.
“The men and women who have so selflessly defended our country deserve nothing but the best when it comes to the care and support we provide them after their service. That’s why I am so proud to have authored the language and fought to secure the funding that made this new and innovative pilot program possible,” Senator Capito said. “As we’ve already seen in West Virginia, agritherapy and other behavioral health treatments have the potential to significantly improve the health and well-being of our veterans, and I will continue to be a champion for this program and others that will help us better care for these brave men and women.”
“This is great news for our West Virginia veterans,” West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said. “We know agriculture is a solution for healing the unseen wounds of war, as well as providing new career opportunities. With these additional funds, we hope to expand the West Virginia Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program by serving more of the veteran population. I want to thank Senator Capito for her vital role in securing these grant monies.”
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, specifically the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Subcommittee, Senator Capito has fought for resources to help assist wounded veterans in their recovery through agritherapy. She brought the issue to the attention of VA leaders at a budget hearing in March 2016 and authored language in the FY2017 MilCon-VA appropriations bill. In the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Senator Capito delivered the funding to enable the VA to create a pilot program to study the benefits of agritherapy.
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