The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund provides direct assistance to veterans in their beginning years of farming or ranching. The Fund does not give money directly to the veteran, but rather to a third party vendor for any items that make a critical difference in the launch of a young farm business.
Since it began in April, 2011, the Fund has provided more than $1,000,000 to 150 fellows in more than 35 states. We hope to award more than $300,000 this year. Grants are awarded in the name of the foundation or corporation that has contributed to the Fund. 2016 grants are being given through support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Prairie Grove Farms, Prudential Financial and Kubota Tractor Corporation.
Demand for the Fund exceeds available funding, so we have developed an application process that opens once or twice a year. There is no guarantee of funding, but we work hard to find ways to help as many of those who apply as possible. The 2016 application period is open December 1st, 2015 through February 1st, 2016. All applications must be received prior to February 1st, 2016.
In addition to monetary awards, the Fellowship provides support in the form of guidance in production, business planning, and marketing. Awards are also made in the form of a scholarship to study for a career in agriculture at a college, university or farm-training program.
- Applicants must have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, currently be on active-duty, or serving in the military reserve/National Guard.
- Applicants must be members of FVC (you can join for free at farmvetco.org)
- Applicants must have an honorable discharge (other characters of discharge may be accepted on a case-by-case basis). Active duty or reserve members need a command support letter.
- Applicants must have an agricultural business in operation, and submit a business plan.
- Applicants must be willing to fully participate in the Fellowship Program, which includes reporting progress, mentoring aspiring veteran farmers, and the possibility of representing FVC at events.
- Applicants must have a desire to continue to serve others and make a positive impact on the farmer veteran community.
It will be helpful to have the following information available during the process: military service history, educational background, farming history, business and financial plans, short term and long term goals, and reference letters. The application process can take 1-2 hours to complete. You will be able to save your application and return for later completion before the deadline.
Each applicant will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Farm Training/Experience and or Transferable skills.
- Personal Investment in the farm business.
- Strategic funding request that will help the business grow in the long term.
- Vision and goals for the future of the business.
- Community involvement.
(uploaded in a digital file format as a word document, PDF or JPEG)
- Documentation of military service. All discharged service members must provide their most recent DD-214 that includes character of service (Member 4). Active, Reservist, or National Guard applicants must provide a command support letter.
- A resume, which includes the following information: education, work history, public service history, and awards earned.
- A business plan.
- The application will require responses to essay questions exploring the following areas: military and public service, motivation and experiences; education and career ambitions in agriculture.
- Letter of Recommendation, (personal or professional).
Each grant awarded through our Fellowship Fund is given in the name of its sponsor. Some of them have a specific focus they support with their donation.
• Bob Woodruff Foundation has been our largest supporter since the Fellowship Fund began. Bob Woodruff Farming Fellows must have served Post 9-11 and have a service connected disability.
• Newman’s Own Foundation is also in its fifth year of supporting the Fellowship Fund. NOF supports veterans that are pursuing sustainable agriculture.
• Prairie Grove Farms supports a new generation of farmer veterans in all types of production with their support.
• Prudential Financial supports veterans pursuing education or training to advance their career in agriculture.
• Kubota Tractor Corporation has donated three tractors that will be awarded to current applicants or past awardees of the fund.
How to support the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund.
Foundations or corporations who want to see their donation go directly to support the farming aspirations of a military veteran can speak to us about contributing to our Fellowship Fund. Some farm supply companies have offered discounts to purchases made on behalf of the Fellowship Fund awardees. Several groups have raised funds to be used for veterans in their state. Money cannot be given with the intention to benefit a specific individual.