Former Marine Jared McCool Named Connecticut's Outstanding Young Farmer

Jared McCool, owner of Steadfast Farms
Jared McCool, who previously served in the Marine Corps, is Connecticut's 2024 Outstanding Young Farmer

April 30, 2024

Jared McCool, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, found himself searching for a sense of purpose after leaving the military. Dissatisfied with working a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., he turned to his passion for the outdoors, eventually finding solace in farming.

That solace turned into acclaim recently, when Jared was named Connecticut's Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) for 2024. Unlike many past OYF recipients, Jared is a relative newcomer to agriculture.

“In just 8 years, I went from being a complete novice with no background in agriculture to being honored as the 2024 Outstanding Young Farmer,” he says. “I hope my journey stands as a testament and source of inspiration for those venturing into agriculture regardless of your background. The abundance of programs, resources, and supportive community in Connecticut made this achievement possible.”

Farming was not just a career change – it was a continuation of his service domestically, embodying the same values of dedication, resilience, and mission accomplishment that he learned in the military. Gathering all the resources he had to start farming on just over 3 acres of land while also working a full-time job in the fast-paced tech industry, Jared established his veteran owned and operated farm in 2017 with a focus on poultry, gamebirds, and food manufacturing.

His farm operation surpassed all expectations, expanding from 1,200 live birds in the first year to a projected 65,000 live birds in 2024. All the while establishing the state’s only USDA Inspected Poultry Slaughter facility in 2023, with plans to bring another 10,000+ birds to Connecticut’s marketplace for locally grown poultry.

> Learn more about Steadfast Farms and the products they offer.

Jared’s vision extends far beyond live upland game birds and producing quality poultry products – he’s seeking to revolutionize the local food industry by offering locally raised, health-conscious alternatives to mainstream poultry while creating job opportunities, particularly for veterans, in the community.

He has implemented regenerative practices across all operations to improve soil health and reuse by-product material to minimize their waste footprint.

He is also actively engaged in various community organizations and activities. The most notable among them include spearheading the formation of a local chapter of Farmer Veteran Coalition in Connecticut, where he conducts outreach to veterans seeking to enter agriculture as well as those currently involved. McCool is a staunch advocate for farm viability as a member of the Connecticut Farm Bureau and Farm Credit East’s Customer Service Council.

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Jared McCool gives a TV interview after being named Connecticut's Outstanding Young Farmer for 2024
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