Homegrown by Heroes

Cindy ZimmermanAFBF, Ag Group, Farmers

Farmer Veteran CoalitionFew vocations are as American as veterans and farmers and now there is a new initiative that helps those who are both.

The Farmer Veteran Coalition has announced the national launch of the Homegrown By Heroes initiative. This product labeling program allows farmers, ranchers and fishermen from all 50 states and U.S. territories who have served or are still serving in any branch of the U.S. military the ability to use the logo on their agricultural products. Consumers and businesses purchasing agricultural products will begin to see this logo at the point-of-purchase and on business signage, enabling them to select products that support our country’s farmer veterans.

Homegrown by HeroesThe Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) created the Homegrown By Heroes labeling as part of its Kentucky Proud marketing program in 2013. More than 60 Kentucky farmer veterans have already registered their farms with KDA to use the Homegrown By Heroes label. At a bi-partisan event in Louisville on Veterans Day 2013, Kentucky’s political and National Guard leaders joined Agricultural Commissioner James Comer as he announced a national partnership for FVC to launch the Homegrown By Heroes program outside of the Commonwealth.

“Thousands of our service men and women leave the rural communities and farms they call home in order to serve our country in the military. Upon completion of their service, they often return home to resume work on the family farm,” said Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, who adds that they also help others with no agricultural background take it on as a new career. “By supporting this label, we can help the veterans who are serving our country in a new way – by producing the food and fiber that feeds and clothes us all. At the same time, we’re helping thousands of young veterans find a new calling in a farming community whose average age is 58 years.”

To qualify for the Homegrown By Heroes label, one must have served honorably or still be serving in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and be at least 50 percent owner and/or operator of the farm business. Veterans of all eras are encouraged to apply. FVC is now accepting and processing Homegrown By Heroes applications.

Homegrown by Heroes is being supported by Farm Credit, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the National Farmers Union (NFU), and various other farm organizations.