Kubota Tractor Corporation announced five new farmer veterans as recipients of a new tractor as part of its 2019 “Geared to Give” program in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition. For the second year, Kubota honored five veterans, adding a fifth veteran last year to represent its newly-created Midwest operating division. In observance of Veterans Day, each veteran received the keys to their new Kubota L Series compact tractor in their respective hometowns in a special ceremony in recognition of their past U.S. military service and their continued service to their communities through farming.
In total, the program has provided equipment and grants to 31 farmer veterans through FVC’s Fellowship Fund, which matches veterans’ needs with donated resources to help them further their agriculture careers. The 2019 program received hundreds of applications from worthy veterans; in the end, one recipient was selected by and for each of Kubota’s five operating divisions:
- Western Division: Soraya Pellan, retired U.S. Air Force veteran who served 20 years in the medical service field, is the owner of Pellan Farms outside of Omaha, Nebraska, which grows alfalfa hay for dairy farms and horse owners in her local area. Soraya and her husband, who reside in both Folsom, California, and Omaha, Nebraska, recently took ownership of their 74-acre farm which has been in her husband’s family for more than 100 years. Having experienced severe flooding this year, Soraya is looking forward to putting the new Kubota tractor to use to repair the property. Soraya received her tractor from Kubota dealer Sacramento for Tractors in California.
- Central Division: Stephen Carter is a U.S. Army veteran who deployed twice to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Today, Stephen and his wife, Lola, own and operate Twisted Acres Farm, a 45-acre dairy goat operation, in Bristow, Oklahoma. The Carters also raise cows and kunekune pigs and produce a variety of products including caramels, goat milk, and goat milk soap. The new Kubota tractor will allow the Carters to be more efficient with their labor as they grow their beef and pork operations on their farm. Their supporting Kubota dealer is Kubota Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
- Midwest Division: Jake Sass is a U.S. Army veteran and West Point graduate who served five deployments to Afghanistan and Jordan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2017, Jake and his wife, Abbey, started Civil Sass Hops, a three-acre hops yard in Chatfield, Minnesota, as a diversification arm of Hillside Farms, a generational family farm. The Sasses plan to use their new Kubota tractor for tasks like cover crop planting and maintenance, stringing, mowing, and spraying. Their supporting Kubota dealer is St. Joseph Equipment in Eyota, Minnesota.
- Northern Division: Brion McClintock, a U.S. Army veteran who served one deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, owns and operates The Tenpenny Farm in Gardners, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Alicia, an Army National Guard veteran. On their 19-acre farm, the McClintocks raise and sell Boer goats, grow produce and small crops, sell firewood, and make handmade crafts. Currently, the McClintocks do all tasks around their farm by hand and the new Kubota tractor will bring some much-needed efficiency to their growing operation. Their supporting Kubota dealer is Messick’s Farm Equipment in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.
- Southeast Division: Russell Guzzetta is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in the Gulf War in support of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Russell and his wife, Danielle, own and operate Country Song Farm in Lithia, Florida, a small cut flower farm where they grow sunflowers and zinnias, among many other varieties, and provide quality farm-fresh bouquets in their local community. The new Kubota tractor will help the Guzzettas with their chores like moving and tilling dirt, and with their plan to expand their operation to a full acre. The Guzzetta’s supporting dealer is Gulf Coast Tractor in Land O’ Lakes, Florida.
Kubota’s philanthropic mission is to “power and empower those who move the earth,” and in that spirit, “Geared to Give” was born in partnership with FVC in 2015. To build on the program and extend its benefits to even more veterans, the company enhanced the program and is currently offering instant customer rebates on Kubota equipment for all FVC members.
“This program empowers farmer veterans to achieve their dreams,” said Alex Woods, Kubota vice president of sales operations, supply chain and parts. “We are pleased to have selected these five very worthy veterans for this year’s awards. It is an honor to work with each of them and the dealers who support them.”
In addition to the tractors, Land Pride donated implements to outfit each veteran with the right tools for their respective farming operations. Firebird Products, a Kubota supplier for aftermarket accessories, also donated Kubota-orange canopies for each tractor, which will help shield each operator from the elements.
Each year, farmer veterans can apply to the FVC Fellowship Fund in order to be considered for donated Kubota equipment through the “Geared to Give” program. For more information on FVC’s 2020 application process, visit www.farmvetco.org. For more information on the “Geared to Give” program, visit Kubota Cares.