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FARMER VETERAN COALITION ANNOUNCES 2022 FELLOWSHIP FUND AWARDEES
Source: Farmer Veteran Coalition sent via AgPR--the news distribution service for agriculture

Marine veteran Jesus Toro of Toro Honey Company in Madera, California, used a 2021 Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund award supported by Farm Credit West to purchase a trailer to transport his hives and beekeeping equipment.
Woodland, CA - Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) announced $470,000 given in awards and equipment to veterans across the country through the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund. It's the largest amount awarded in program history. The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund provides direct assistance to veterans involved in agriculture by awarding them equipment and small grants in the amount of $1,000 to $5,000 to purchase items they have identified will make a crucial difference in the launch of their farm business.

More than 130 farmer veterans representing 41 states and all branches of service-with the exception of the Space Force-received notifications this week that they have been selected to receive an award to purchase things like beekeeping equipment, fencing, livestock, tractor implements, walk-behind tractors, and other supplies.

Army veteran Alan Woods of Woods Bee Co. in Centralia, Washington, used a 2021 Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund award supported by Wounded Warrior Project to purchase honey processing equipment.
"At a time when the agriculture industry is feeling the effects of current events, it's a great pleasure to give a well-deserved boost to our farmer veterans who continue to serve our nation through farming," said Rachel Petitt, program director for the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund. "Without the generous support from our funders, it wouldn't be possible to make such a big impact and provide this much needed assistance to our farmer veterans."

Major funding for this year's program was made possible by Wounded Warrior Project, Kubota Tractor Corporation, Tractor Supply, and Northwest Farm Credit Services. Additional funding and support was provided by Homestead Implements, Farm Credit West, Lamps Plus, Sugar Bottom Farm, Unearth Campaigns, Vital Farms, and G&R Farms/Military Produce Group.

Air Force veteran Ashley Riggin used a 2021 Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund award supported by Tractor Supply Company to purchase fencing for her farm, Riggin Farm, in Talking Rock, Georgia.
Veterans who submitted an application to the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund had the option to apply for Kubota's Geared to Give program which donates five pieces of equipment and grants to Farmer Veteran Coalition members each year. Recipients of this year's Geared to Give awards will be announced later this spring. The Geared to Give program has provided 41 pieces of equipment and grants to Farmer Veteran Coalition members since it was established in 2015.

Awardees of the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund were selected by third-party reviewers consisting of seasoned agriculture industry professionals from Farm Credit Council and their network of cooperative lending institutions, the National AgrAbility Project, and other partner organizations. Applications were judged based on the strength of a veteran's business plan, personal investment in their business, vision and goals, and a clear need for assistance. The application period for the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund opens once per year, usually in January, at which time veterans have four weeks to submit an application.

"Access to capital is often one of the biggest challenges beginning farmers face and the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund was established to help address that challenge for U.S. Military veterans and servicemembers who operate an agriculture business," said FVC Executive Director Jeanette Lombardo.

To see the full list of awardees, visit www.farmvetco.org/2022-awardees.

Since it was established in 2011, the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund has awarded nearly $4 million in small grants and equipment to more than 930 veterans. To learn more about the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, please visit www.farmvetco.org/fvfellowship. To inquire about supporting the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, please contact rachel@farmvetco.org.

About Farmer Veteran Coalition
The mission of Farmer Veteran Coalition is mobilizing veterans to feed America. Established in 2008, its in-house programs include the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund small grant program, the nationally recognized Homegrown By Heroes label for veteran-grown products, and national and regional conferences. As the nation's largest nonprofit assisting veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces embark on careers in agriculture, FVC has been successful in getting millions of dollars of USDA funds appropriated for farmer veteran and the groups that support them. Learn more at: www.farmvetco.org or follow on Facebook or Instagram at @FarmerVeteranCoalition and Twitter at @FarmVetCo.


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