Some veterans and their family members participated in a workshop about agriculture topics, at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Pineville on Friday.

The United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with the Louisiana Armed Forces Foundation, VA Medical Center, and the Acadiana Resource and Development Council, hosted the farming workshop for veterans.

Eighteen people attended to see presentations and learn about different types of agriculture, such as beekeeping, pop-up gardens, and goat raising.

"It went great. It went really, really well," Louisiana State Public Affairs Specialist, Amy Robertson, said. "We had a really great group of folks that were the group that we were targeting. They were new and beginning farmers or were thinking about getting into farming. We were very pleased at the turnout."

Goat raising was one of the more popular areas at the workshop. It has been attracting a lot of attention throughout the country.

Robertson thinks many people believe, to be involved in agriculture, it is necessary to have thousands of acres and a big combine. "Agriculture encompasses a large area. People can get into raising goats for the milk and the meat side of it," she said.

Those in attendance were able to help construct a raised bed garden out on the grounds of the VA Hospital. There are plans to install more raised beds in the future.

"We planted some plants in there as part of the workshop, and explained the concept of the particular bed that had been constructed," Robertson said. "That was a wonderful feeling, knowing we did that, and that the hospital will be able to utilize it. We have an agreement to install other raised beds.

The event was the impetus for building connections between people who did not know each other prior to attending the workshop.  

"It was one of the events where people were able to connect and a lot of those connections had meaning," said Robertson. "It just goes to show that we live in a small world, because one person, who was talking about goat raising, lived in the same town as a couple of the attendees, and they didn't know each other before. Another couple, who drove from Mississippi, was able to make connections too. It was one of those events where people talk and get the information that will help them in what they are trying to do."

Robertson was excited about the turnout and what it could lead to in the future.