Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund Announces $200,000 in New Awards; $1.5 million since 2011
Military veterans turned farmers from around the country received a major boost today as Farmer Veteran Coalition announced $200,000 in new awards for the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund. Fifty farmer veterans representing all military branches and multiple service-eras were notified via email that they were awarded a 2017 Fellowship, bringing the total amount awarded in the program’s history to more than $1.5 million.
Established in 2011, the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund provides direct assistance to veterans who are in the early stages of their farming operations. With awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, purchases are made to third-parties on behalf of the veteran for critical items such as breeding livestock, used tractors, greenhouses, irrigation systems and more. This year’s awards range from supplies to build a barn for Army veteran Michael Reynolds in Georgia to an egg washer for Air Force veteran Nathan Layton in Pennsylvania.
“As the nation’s largest nonprofit assisting veterans embarking on careers in agriculture, it’s always a great pleasure to provide this much-needed assistance to our veterans,” said Rachel Petitt, who manages the Fellowship Fund. “A Fellowship award can have a huge impact on a farmer veteran by not only providing them with much needed equipment, but also by letting them know we’re here to help them grow their farm business.”
Demand for the Fellowship was extremely competitive this year with a record 270 farmer veterans completing applications. Awardees were selected by a voluntary team of seasoned farm advisors and lenders. Criteria included: farm training/experience; personal investment in their farm business; a clear need for assistance; and their vision and goals for the future of their farm business.
By applying for a Fellowship, applicants are automatically entered in the Geared to Give program—a partnership between Kubota Tractor Corporation and FVC. Four veterans will each be selected to receive a Kubota L-Series compact tractor this Fall. Since it was established in 2015, the program has awarded seven Kubota tractors to FVC members.
Though the Fellowship had to turn away a large number of farmer veterans this year, more awards could be distributed throughout the year as additional funding becomes available. “We can’t make any guarantees, but we’re always trying to award as many farmer veterans as possible,” said Petitt.
Funding for this year’s awards is provided by long-time supporters Bob Woodruff Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Kubota Tractor Corporation and Prairie Grove Farms—all multiple-year supporters of the Fellowship Fund.
To learn more about the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, please visit www.farmvetco.org/about-us/our-programs/farming-fellowship