The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods Inc., announced a $200,000 donation to North Carolina State University’s Soldier to Agriculture Program (STAP), an agricultural institute that provides in-depth career introductions and hands-on training to help veterans make the transition from military service to agricultural careers, North Carolina’s top industry.

“We are so grateful to Smithfield Foods for this generous contribution,” said Chris Wessel, director of academic programs at North Carolina State University. “The Soldier to Agriculture Program is about stepping up to meet the unique challenges veterans face when leaving military service and, with Smithfield’s generosity, we can expand our offerings to further support their transition to the civilian sector and continue to ensure our veterans are employed within six months of graduation.”

The University’s Soldier to Agriculture Program is a partnership between North Carolina State University and the Fort Bragg military base career center, near Fayetteville, N.C. Smithfield’s contribution and partnership with STAP will provide a full year of funding for the program, enabling the build out of a larger facility and upgraded classrooms to recruit veterans and house agricultural courses and studies.

“Smithfield Foods is deeply engrained in our North Carolina communities,” said Keira Lombardo, executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “We are proud to support the North Carolina State University’s Soldier to Agriculture Program that bolsters our industry and supports our veterans, a cause near and dear to our Foundation’s efforts.”

Smithfield’s contribution will fund STAP from Mar. 2019 through Mar. 2020 to support it’s mission to create a positive and fulfilling career path for soldiers transitioning out of military service.

“Smithfield has a long history of supporting military families and veterans, especially through initiatives like Operation 4000!, our company’s commitment to employ 4,000 veterans by 2020,” said Troy Vandenberg, military talent acquisition manager for Smithfield Foods. “The agricultural industry provides many opportunities for veterans to leverage their military training, and we are proud to bolster our commitment to our soldiers through this partnership with NC State.”

For more information about Smithfield’s commitment to veterans and its local communities, please visit

Source: Smithfield Foods