The Farmer Veteran Coalition is getting an extra boost from Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, this Fourth of July holiday. On Sunday, which is Independence Day, Tractor Supply stores will honor the men and women of the Armed Forces with a 15 percent discount to all active military, veterans, and dependents.
Additionally, TSC donated $100,000 to FVC, including awarding $1,000 gift cards to 50 military veterans nationwide to support their agriculture businesses and $50,000 from the Tractor Supply Company Foundation to support additional programming and Fellowship Fund grants.
Each year, Tractor Supply partners with FVC to assist farmer veterans from all branches of service. In the last four years, Tractor Supply has donated a total of $250,000 in gift cards and monetary funds, assisting more than 200 farmer veterans. This year’s 50 gift-card recipients were selected based on need to support their agriculture projects and businesses and represented four branches of the military across 29 states.
The supplementary $50,000 donation from the Tractor Supply Company Foundation will provide grants to seven additional farmer veterans and support FVC’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to support the journey toward racial equity in agriculture.
FVC is a national nonprofit organization that assists more than 30,000 active duty and veteran members of the Armed Forces embarking on careers in agriculture. The organization provides education, resources and small grants to help military members launch their own farming operations or find meaningful employment in the agricultural industry.
Military members supported through this year’s grants include Elizabeth Riffle, an active-duty Navy Nurse Corps officer who owns and operates a West Virginia bison farm committed to providing customers with ethically raised meat. Riffle intends to use the grant to grow her farm to further support her community and promote regenerative farming practices. This year, she is one of 17 women receiving a Tractor Supply grant.
Air Force veteran David Conley, another recipient, opened Athol Orchards Antique Apple Farm, an heirloom apple orchard and food manufacturing company, after more than 20 years of military service. Conley will use the grant to maintain rare and historic apple varieties, produce and sell top-quality products and provide farm-based educational experiences for all ages.
“Our partnership with Tractor Supply has had an incredible impact within our farmer veteran community in providing members with the supplies they need to launch or support their farm businesses,” said Rachel Petitt, Program Director at Farmer Veteran Coalition. “With so many of our members struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, and Tractor Supply being such a great resource, our community is especially appreciative of these grants. For many farmers, this relief ensures their survival.”
Since 2011, FVC has awarded over 700 Fellowship grants totaling $3.5 in equipment to veteran farmers and ranchers in their beginning years. For the full list of 2021 grant awardees, visit farmvetco.org/2021-ff-recipients.