Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

This July, Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields will be traveling through the midwest for our Midwest Film & Farms Tour! They will be hosting a series of screenings and raising funds for Veteran run farms and programs. The screenings can be found here.

Dulanie Ellis began filming Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields five years ago. At that time organic farmer Michael O’Gorman was working with a small group of veterans.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Media Contact: Danelle Sherman
 AugustineIdeas
(916) 960-2885
dsherman@augustineideas.com
 
Farmer Veteran Coalition Launches Homegrown By Heroes National Certification Label
Label Identifies, Promotes and Supports Agricultural Products Grown and Raised by
United States Military Veterans
.
Davis, Calif. (May 15, 2014) ­— TheFarmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) announced today the national launch of the Homegrown By Heroes initiative.

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We invite you for an evening of veteran-produced, farm-fresh tapas and beverages (wine, beer and mead!). Meet the veterans in the film who are part of a new generation of sustainable farmers, ranchers and artisan food producers. Meet the filmmakers who are using the film to engage communities across America.     Buy tickets here

After a temporary absence we proud to announce that Farmer Veteran Coalition is once again accepting applications for the Bob Woodruff Farming Fellowship.

 

FVC’s Fellowship assist veterans with advancing their career in food and farming. Fellowship participants are given access to resources and support services that enable them to become successful in the food and farming industry.

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Social Media is all but necessary these days for any kind of business not just for large companies or tech start-ups. Even agriculture.
 
The Land Connection is hosting a webinar series to inform farmers on social media marketing and strategy. Their mission is to “train farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques; informs the public about the sources of our food and why that matters; and works to protect and enhance farmland.

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Owner of Lucky Nickel Ranch certified organic produce established in 1998 and co-owner of The McKenzie Inn Bed and Breakfast in Eloy, Arizona. Lucky Nickel Ranch was developed and built as an incubator farm to train and equip other students and veterans in the unique business of organic farming, sustainability, and niche market sales.

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Dan Hromas is one of Farmer Veteran Coalition’s newest Fellow. Dan established Prairie Pride Poultry with a goal of providing healthy, farm fresh eggs to consumers and to share the interesting facts about the “Incredible Edible Egg”. Prairie Pride Poultry is situated on three acres of pasture on the northeast edge of town, where Rhode Island Reds are truly free range. The farm prides itself with the humane treatment of the flock. Dan’s motto is “happy hens lay healthy eggs.

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FVC and Food Craft Institute are offering TWO full scholarships to FVC member veterans for The Food Craft Institute’s intensive course in Northern California called “The Business of Butchery”.  This class will be held from April 14th – May 2nd, 2014.  The course will include one week of on-farm instruction at the Belcampo Meat Co.

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Last Friday March 21st FVC had it’s Grand Opening and Open House. We were joined by our staff from across the country, farmer-veterans brought some of their good to show and share.
 
All photos by Emilio Rychard except where noted.

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Our own Michele Pfannenstiel, President FVC Maine, made a visit to Dick Royer’s Farm last week. While there she was able to snap a few pictures of him and his wife.  Earlier in the month we were able to connect him with with Chet Bennetts, Director of Farm Development, to assist in business planning for his farm.
 
“I just received the one page business plan from Chet.

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Last month our staff held a small party with some of our earliest supporters to celebrate the growth of FVC over the past five years.
 
 

 It’s picture within a picture! #pictureception
 

 We were discussing how children’s movies these days sneak in a few jokes for us older folks.
 

Our charming COO, Jeff Macloud.
 

 Karin Mack, Director of Career Development
 

Kelly Carlise, founder of Acta Non Verba.

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The Farmer Veteran Coalition cordially invites all women veterans, active duty, and women farming with veterans to participate in the Empowering Women Veterans Conference. This event will focus on equipping women veterans with the business and farming tools they need to begin and achieve their entrepreneurial goals. Over 100 women will be brought together from around the country to make new friends and form community.

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Frederick “Fred” John Fleming, whose namesake includes both sets of great-grandfathers, is now entering the latest chapter in his lucrative agribusiness career: the hand-off to the next generation. Fred is ready to train and assist someone in taking over his 32-year old seed company, Reardan Seed Co., Inc. located in the state of Washington. The succession will not be following lineage lines.

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Here is a little something I pulled up that I had written ten years ago today. I remember sharing it with non-farmer friends over the internet, in what seemed at the time to be just the beginning of public interest into a world of agriculture that was rarely seen by people not involved.
 
Spring came for me yesterday, 400 miles south of here (Ensenada), about half way down the Baja peninsula.

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US Air Force Colonel (retired) Jeffrey Macloud has joined FVC as Chief Operations Officer. Jeff’s 25-year military career included directing operations on the Nevada Test and Training Range, and a leadership position in the historic drawdown of combat forces in Iraq, where he led transition planning of hundreds of critical governance and military tasks.

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Prepared by Ed Cox, Agricultural Law Center, Drake Law, for the Farmer Veteran Coalition
 
Below is a description of the new programs for veteran farmers in the Bill as it is being sent to the President.  Veterans and supporters interested in finding out more about these programs can contact us at info@farmvetco.org or call at 530.756.1395.
 
Veteran Farmer or Rancher Definition
 
Veteran Farmer Defined:
 
Definition of Veteran Farmer or Rancher.

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The drought hitting California is forcing ranchers to make the difficult decision between attempting to keep their livestock or selling as much as half of their herd. There is simply not enough grass to feed the livestock. To understand how devastating this drought has been, from September to the end of December only 40 pounds of grass was grown per acre.
 
The usual? 500 pounds per acre.

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Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden recently took to the USDA blog to talk about her experience at the National Farmers Union Women’s Conference in Florida. She discusses how their challenges have inspired her to carry out her own work as as Deputy Secretary and how the actions we take today will impact farmers and ranchers decades from now.

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Paul Greive, a former officer in the Marine Corps, began Primal Pastures with his brothers-in-law Rob and Jeff and Father in Law Tom in 2012. As a collegiate athlete Greive suffered from arthritis and learned about Crossfit and Paleolithic diet during the Marine Corps. Having a difficult time sourcing high quality proteins locally, the family purchased 50 chickens with the intent to raise them on pasture.
 
Growth was quick and explosive, and they quickly sold out their initial flock.

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Former Marine Robert Elliot had been laid off in 2011 due to budget cuts at the Department of Defense. After deciding a mechanical aeronautical engineering degree wasn’t for him he decided to pursue farming at his old family farm.
 
Elliot read Joel Salatin’s book, “Pastured Poultry Profit$” and it clicked. He would raise organic poultry.
 
He did more research, went to the right seminars, and got certified to sell his home-grown products.

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Adam Burke, a farmer-veteran himself, began Veteran’s Farm in 2009 to offer soldiers opportunities for growth and transition. To date the Farm has helped about 30 struggling combat veterans rebuild their lives, using farming as a therapeutic tool for recovery. The soldiers grow crops ranging from peppers to blueberries, work with livestock, and even take on duties such as writing business plans.
 
Watch Yahoo’s video and read their story here.

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Sabrina Matteson- wife, mother, daughter, farmer and friend – has lost her valiant battle with cancer, but not before leaving an indelible mark on so many people, including us at the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
 
One of my fondest moments of Sabrina was at a key planning meeting we had last year in Des Moines.  At one point we broke into groups and many of us were heading to one of the more exciting meetings of the day to discuss organizational structure.

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One of our veterans, Frank Golbeck, was recently a featured guest on the People with Nature podcast.
 
After attending UC Berkley and spending 4 years in the Navy he began producing mead. A mead is like a wine but uses honey as the fermentable sugar instead of fruit. Frank has set up shop in the San Diego area sourcing quality local honey and Palomar Mountain Spring Water to produce the finest mead he can.

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“NCAT Agriculture Specialist Linda Coffey and Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale were invited to speak at the Empowering Women Veterans Conference in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 14-17. More than 100 women attended the conference, which was presented by the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). The conference, now in its second year, is geared toward veteran and active-duty women farmers, and women who farm with veterans”.

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My first greenhouse was beautiful; 30 feet, east to west, by 96 feet, north to south, the same as many high tunnels today.  Built of cypress wood, weathered to a silvery grey, and covered in plates of glass, windows ran along either side, and again along the gabled roof, cranked open by the turn of a rusty wheel. Sheets of corrugated asbestos, long since banned, sat atop piled cinderblock and held the trays of young transplants.

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"For some veterans, beginning (or returning to) a career in agriculture can provide a rediscovery of purpose and fulfillment, while helping to alleviate the crisis of aging farmers and unemployment." Read More at From War Veteran to Farmer

 
FVC’s Fellowship Fund grantee, Paul Greive is doing amazing things on his family run farm business in California. Read about what Paul and his family are doing and show your support through their Kickstarter campaign!
“I served in the Marine Corps as an Intelligence Officer, serving a tour in Southern Iraq on an Iraqi Army Transition Team.  After the Marines, I became a Certified Public Accountant but truly missed working outside with my hands.

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Those in the military are familiar with our unique slang filled with words that run from A to Z. One of those is “got your six.” During WWI, fighter pilots referenced a pilot’s rear as the six o’ clock position, and “got your six” came to mean “I’ve got you’re back.”
 
In the military, members are trained to always have each others’ back. As they return from service, we must remember to have theirs, too.

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The sustainable agriculture and food movement includes more than providing food, animal, and plant products that protect the environment and human and animal communities; it’s also about wisely consuming the food and products we grow and have so that none is needlessly wasted.
 
A Rallying Cry Against Waste: U.S. Food Waste Challenge
To address this concern, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are collaborating to form the U.S.

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Every individual and community should have access to healthy food. However, access to fresh food may be difficult or nonexistent, especially in low-income communities. This lack of fresh food can lead to health problems such as diabetes and obesity, which the American Medical Association (AMA) has recently recognized as a disease.

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Growing up, Evan Premer was surrounded by fields. His family had small gardens and ranches, so farming has always been a part of his life growing up. As an adult, Evan went to another field—the Army—where he completed tours of duty in Germany and Iraq. After he completed his service, he returned back to the open fields, gaining valuable agricultural training at Circle Fresh Farms.

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A lover of animals and the outdoors, Kylee Demers channeled both these passions into successfully serving in the Air Force and beginning her own agricultural venture. With her experience as an Air Force forecaster, Kylee has continued to serve her country, providing weather support during both Hurricane Katrina and Rita. As a Farmer Veteran, Kylee supports the breeds most in need, focusing on endangered ones, such as Friesian horses.

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Farming, just like military life, can be a demanding, though rewarding, journey. Our hardworking farmers need a break every now and then to rejuvenate and get fresh ideas for their farms. Thanks to our partners at the Bob Woodruff Foundation, we were able to provide just that in a special retreat to Springfield, Kentucky.

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Last weekend, at the GI Film Festival, the documentary “Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields” was shown and one viewer, Kellie McKnight, wrote a small blog about it.  Here is that blog:
 
 
Personally, my loved one and his twin served in the military to protect our freedom after 9/11. Thankfully my wounded soldier is now home and has found a job that he enjoys.

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We are pleased to announce that we have mobilized our first official Board of Directors that will unite in helping our veterans in transition feed America!
 
Our new board members come from all walks of life and are agricultural leaders and experts in their area–from fields to battlefields to academic institutions—and all have something to bring to the table.

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This past March was National Women’s History month, and it couldn’t have come at a better time to announce that our Chief of Staff and former US Navy Veteran, Tia Christopher, was recently selected and honored as a “Champion of Change” by the White House for her work as a woman veteran and her leadership in the community for returning veterans!
 
A Champion of Change for Women Veterans and Veterans in Transition
“Champions of Change” is a White House initiative that recognize

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My name is Tyler Albers and in addition to being the Iowa Equipment Project Manager I’m also a small, beginning farmer. I know firsthand the challenges of starting a farm and how important it is to have reliable equipment. As a veteran myself I’m very excited to be part of this program; having the ability to work with farmers while at the same time help veterans is my dream job.

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Army veteran Mike Walgrave is taking the same dedication and drive that motivated him to join the military into an agricultural career. The “Point Reyes Light,” a Pulitzer-prize winning weekly newspaper based in Marin County, recently covered an article on Walgrave, a retired Army specialist and a Wisconsin native who will be working at the 100-acre Star Route Farms in Bolinas as part of one of our sustainable farming programs at FVC.

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Dear Friends,
 

Mickey spent part of her childhood on a South Dakota reservation in what she calls “big sheep country.” Half Lakota Indian and half Puerto Rican, she joined the Army to serve her country, and while deployed in Northern Iraq fell in love with the Awassi sheep. “Watching these sheep brought me peace in a time that was both the best and the worst of my life”, she says.

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After two years, it’s finally here: the official FVC “Veteran Careers in Agriculture: A Resource Guide,” a new manual that’s packed with information about farming and business for veterans looking to start their sustainable farming career!

This useful, 21-page informational guide will be the first farming manual in the nation to focus specifically on helping veterans take on the transition from being service members to soldiers of the farming field.

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Thanks to grants generously awarded by Newman’s Own Foundation, we at Farmer’s Veteran Coalition can provide even more support to returning military veterans who want to enter the field of food and farming!
 
Newman’s Own Foundation, founded in 2005, is dedicated to donating all net profits and royalties from the sale of Newman’s Own Inc. food products to worthy causes. Newman’s Own was founded in 1982 by legendary Hollywood actor and philanthropist Paul Newman.

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Veteran assistance group, Farmer Veteran Coalition, was recently awarded $100,000 in funding from Newman’s Own Foundation to support returning military veterans entering the field of food and farming.
 
 
Veteran assistance group, Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC), has been awarded a $100,000 grant over two years from Newman’s Own Foundation, the independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman.

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Some years ago, in the winter of 1974-1975, I took my first trip to Homestead, Florida. South of Miami, on the road to the beautiful Florida Keys, fields of tomatoes, sweet corn, poled beans, okra and squash bordered both sides of the busy road, where produce stands competed for the eager customers anxious to buy fresh, local vegetables directly from farmers.

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Fayetteville Observer, May 25th, 2012
 
By Kathleen Merrigan and Michael O’Gorman
 
What would you do with $10,000? For a returning veteran, it could help launch a new career.
 
Around the country, veterans are returning home from tours of duty and reintegrating into civilian life. Roughly 20 percent of our service members come from rural communities, so we shouldn’t be surprised that some look to farming and ranching as a promising second career.

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When I began farming in 1970, two million farmers were feeding 200 million people; now 960,000 farmers are feeding 310 million mouths. For a century our numbers have shrunk and our age has gone up. Our nation is in need of new farmers to feed our people, protect our land, rebuild our economy, bring back our rural communities, keep us healthy, and make our nation secure.

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Dear Friends,
 
As 2012 draws to a close, the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) asks everyone to take time to remember those who have served, are still serving, and those who are deployed. This year we also give thanks to the growing number of military veterans that continue to serve their country by growing our food.
 
Army Captain Jamie Critelli served many overseas deployments, including Iraq, before returning home in 2006 to start Floral Beauty Nursery in New York State.

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Giving Thanks
 
November is a time to celebrate the year and those we love. For Farmer Veterans this also means the end of their harvest and the celebration of their produce, poultry and livestock. In Arkansas, Farmer Veteran Drew Wood prepares his turkeys for sale while Terrell Spencer sells his farm fresh chickens and eggs. In New Jersey, Farmer Veteran Matt Soldano produces everything from chicken to honey to vegetables for his local community.

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This past August, the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) teamed up with the Sierra Club to bring over 15 veterans and their families to Vashon Island, Washington for a weekend of farm visits, kayaking, beach walks and a chance to network with industry professionals, as well one another. For three days, Camp Burton was over run with laughing children, talks of compost, chicken tractors and seedlings, as well as shared military stories.

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Davis, CA April 2012—With the help of the USDA Risk Management Agency and Annie’s Project, the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is excited to host the “Empowering Women Veterans: Business, Agriculture & Well-Being” conference in Davis, Ca on July 7-8, 2012. This conference will be the first of its kind, aiming to bring women veterans together in an environment specifically designed to address their unique experiences and needs in agriculture.

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FROM THE
ARCHIVES
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    Our own Michele Pfannenstiel, President FVC Maine, made a visit to Dick Royer's Farm last week. While there she was able to snap a few pictures of him and his wife.  Earlier in the month we were able to connect him with with Chet Bennetts, Director of Farm Development, to assist in business planning for his farm.

     

    "I just received the one page business plan from Chet. He told me he was sending it to me what I thought was a form or a sheet of paper to fill out turns out to be a 90+ page workbook and a cd! Wow I am so glad to have found you guys! I finally think I maybe on the right path to getting my farm on a good footing. Thank you so so much for your help..." 

    - Dick Royer

     

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  • Mar 18th, 2014
  • object(WP_Post)#829 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(2320) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "9" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-03-02 08:13:45" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-03-02 14:13:45" ["post_content"]=> string(34748) " The Farmer Veteran Coalition cordially invites all women veterans, active duty, and women farming with veterans to participate in the Empowering Women Veterans Conference. This event will focus on equipping women veterans with the business and farming tools they need to begin and achieve their entrepreneurial goals. Over 100 women will be brought together from around the country to make new friends and form community. Register today! Join us for this unique opportunity by registering here: Conference Registration" ["post_title"]=> string(80) "You are Invited to the Southern California Empowering Women Veterans Conference!" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(70) "you-are-invited-to-the-2nd-annual-empowering-women-veterans-conference" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-05-02 22:38:50" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-05-03 03:38:50" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(32) "http://www.farmvetco.org/?p=2320" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } NULL
  • Mar 2nd, 2014
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    Frederick “Fred” John Fleming, whose namesake includes both sets of great-grandfathers, is now entering the latest chapter in his lucrative agribusiness career: the hand-off to the next generation. Fred is ready to train and assist someone in taking over his 32-year old seed company, Reardan Seed Co., Inc. located in the state of Washington. The succession will not be following lineage lines.

     

    The two Fleming adult children, now in successful professions other than farming (healthcare and education), are not interested in any of the four agribusinesses Fred and his wife, Vicki, manage: the Lazy Y J Farms (est. 1888); Shepherd’s Grain; the Reardan Seed Co., Inc.; and their latest start-up, Rhizoterra, Inc., a soil preparation company.

     

    Fred, always a forward-thinker, is a step-ahead of the farming crisis: a third of US farmers are older than 65 and retiring. His plan of action is to reach out now and make an investment with an individual who is interested in agriculture. Fred has already proven successful at integrating a non-family member into the management of the Lazy Y L Farms business. Now the Fleming’s are reaching out to Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) in their search for a hard-working individual to manage and, eventually, over time own Reardon Seed.

     

    Why FVC? Fred says it best: “I’m a veteran, as were both my parents, and I know that a veteran will have the necessary drive to work hard.” A hardworking individual isn’t all Fred is looking for because the right fit for Reardan Seed also includes a background and strong interest in agriculture, not necessarily farming, but perhaps experience in life sciences or agronomy.

     

    If you’re interested in making a lifelong commitment to building an already successful ag-related business and have fun doing it, then you want to talk to Fred. He can be reached at: fredjf2@aol.com.

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  • Feb 28th, 2014