Farm Credit Supports “Homegrown By Heroes” Program for Farmer Veterans

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$250,000 Grant Will Fund Program Rollout in All 50 States

Orlando Cadena is a farmer veteran operating 6,000 acres of cotton, grain sorghum and sunflowers in Texas.

By supporting the expansion of the Homegrown By Heroes effort, we hope to increase economic opportunity for those veterans who choose to return to agriculture and, in doing so, help our rural communities thrive.

The Farm Credit System, a national network of cooperatives that provides financing and related services to agricultural producers, agribusinesses, and rural infrastructure providers today announced a $250,000 commitment to launch a nationwide “Homegrown By Heroes” program boosting the efforts of U.S. farmer veterans to market their agriculture products.

The program, created earlier this year in Kentucky by Kentucky Department of Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, allows farmers who served in the U.S. armed forces to add the Homegrown By Heroes logo to their products’ packaging and signage. The label is an easy way for consumers to identify farmer veteran products and support the nation’s military veterans by purchasing those products.

“Many of the men and women who serve proudly in our military come from America’s rural areas and small towns,” said Everett M. Dobrinski, board chairman for CoBank, a member of the Farm Credit System, and director for the Farm Credit Council board. “The Farm Credit System has a mission to serve rural America. By supporting the expansion of the Homegrown By Heroes effort, we hope to increase economic opportunity for those veterans who choose to return to agriculture and, in doing so, help our rural communities thrive.”

According to Michael Lewis, the first Kentucky farmer veteran to use the Homegrown By Heroes label, the program also gives retailers a message they can get behind, helping farmer veterans expand their markets.

“In the military, veterans learn key skills like strong leadership,” said Richard Davidson, a U.S. Air Force Reserve veteran who operates an Ohio grain and cattle operation, and serves as board chair for AgriBank, a member of the Farm Credit System. “With Homegrown By Heroes, we are not only recognizing veterans for their service, but we’re also helping them leverage these skills to succeed in agriculture.”

Farm Credit’s contribution will underwrite the national rollout of the Homegrown By Heroes label through the Farmer Veteran Coalition. The $250,000 donation from Farm Credit will provide consistent, long-term support to the program as the Farmer Veteran Coalition expands its reach to farmers, ranchers and consumers in all 50 states over the next two years.

“We are proud that Commissioner James Comer has put his trust in the Farmer Veteran Coalition to administer the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Homegrown By Heroes program nationwide,” said Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. “We are confident that consumers will appreciate this opportunity to show tangible support for our nation’s veterans.”

Farm Credit’s contribution to the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s Homegrown By Heroes program was made possible by the generous support of AgriBank (St. Paul, Minn.), AgFirst (Columbia, S.C.), CoBank (Denver, Colo.) and Farm Credit Bank of Texas (Austin, Texas).

About The Farmer Veteran Coalition
The Farmer Veteran Coalition serves military veterans of all eras and branches, though a majority of its veterans are from the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, interested in the agriculture industry. It works with veterans, their families, employers and mentors to support those returning to or beginning careers in food and farming.

About Farm Credit
For nearly a century, Farm Credit has been a national provider of credit and related services to rural America through its cooperative network of customer-owned lending institutions. Farm Credit provides more than $190 billion in loans and leases to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, aquatic producers, timber harvesters, agribusinesses, and agricultural and rural utility cooperatives. For more information about the Farm Credit System, please visit http://www.farmcredit.com.

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