One hundred twenty-five veterans across the nation have received a well-deserved boost to their farming businesses as Farmer Veteran Coalition announced $300,000 in new awards through its Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund. Demand for the Fellowship Fund continues to increase with a record 310 veterans submitting applications in 2018.
“We were amazed at the number of veterans with strong farm and ranch businesses this year,” said FVC Director Michael O’Gorman. “We are committed to doing everything we can to increase support for these deserving men and women.”
The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund provides direct assistance to veterans by awarding them grants to purchase items they have identified will make a crucial difference in the launch of their farm business.
Since it was established in 2011, the Fellowship Fund has awarded $1.9 million to more than 500 veterans in the early stages of launching farm businesses. Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 and common purchases include all-terrain vehicles, breeding livestock, bulk feed, fencing, tractor implements, and walk-behind tractors.
Funding for this year’s program is provided by longtime supporters Kubota Tractor Corporation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Prudential Financial, and Prairie Grove Farms. By applying for the Fellowship Fund, applicants are automatically entered for a chance to be selected in the Geared to Give program—a partnership between Kubota Tractor Corporation and FVC that awards Kubota tractors to FVC members.
New this year, FVC has partnered with Tractor Supply Company to provide $50,000 in awards to 50 Fellowship Fund recipients. The 50 farmer veterans selected as Tractor Supply Company recipients will each receive a $1,000 gift card that they will redeem on Armed Forces Day on Saturday, May 19, at their local Tractor Supply store during a one-day shopping event.
Awardees were selected by a panel of seasoned agriculture industry professionals based on the strength of their business plan, personal investment in their business, vision and goals for their business, and a clear need for assistance.
“It’s a great pleasure to provide this much-needed assistance to our members,” said Rachel Petitt, Fellowship Fund manager. “We’ll continue our fundraising efforts throughout the year to expand this vital program.”
While the Fellowship Fund isn’t able to award all qualified applicants, those who were not awarded during the 2018 cycle are encouraged to apply again next year.