From serving our nation to feeding our nation

Large in-person gatherings like the World Ag Expo have gone virtual, but one national organization is using the online opportunity to reach military vets.

“Mobilizing veterans to feed America,” that is the inspiration behind the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

FVC’s COO William Hines states, “Ag careers was an area that could provide great opportunities for the men and women who’ve put their lives on the line for our country.”

He says that the coalition, founded in 2007, has grown through the last decade, into a nationwide membership of individuals, businesses, and non-profits who connect those who have served with others working in the ag industry.

“What that means is, we’ve got a really good network, and if there’s something that is specific to your area, we can put you in touch with them,” Hines states.

The FVC currently boasts nationwide membership of 23,000 veterans who have free access to the organization’s resources, including career counseling, resource referrals, corporate discounts, and FVC programs, like the branding program called “Homegrown by Heroes”.

“You have to go through some steps of certification,” he adds. “There’s got to be like 50 percent, at least 50 percent, of the products veteran produced... once you get through the certification process then you have this official label you can use.”

The Fellowship Fund is another program; it provides direct assistance of $1,000 to $5,000 dollars to vets in their beginning years.

According to Hines, “It’s very competitive, it requires you to turn in a business plan to us. You have to have a going concern, you don’t have to be making a lot of money, but you do have to have been in production for a year or two.”

The fund has awarded more than $3 million dollars since 2011 to help farmer veterans make necessary business purchases.

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