Tractor Supply Company announced that it has honored 50 military veteran farmers nationwide this month in partnership with Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC).
Each honoree has been awarded a $1,000 gift card to support their agriculture projects and businesses.
The FVC is a national nonprofit organization that assists active duty and veteran members of our Armed Forces embarking on careers in agriculture by providing them with education, resources, and small grants to launch their own farming operation or find employment in farming. The group serves more than 20,000 members nationwide
The 50 farmer veterans were selected based on essay applications describing their farm training and experience, personal investment in their farm business, and the clear need for assistance to further their vision and goal for the business.
Winning businesses ranged in fields of beekeeping, sustainable gardening, community education, farm to table meats, and more.
“We are honored to support these veteran farmers as they serve our local communities through their wide-ranging agricultural businesses,” said Roc Hodges, who retired as a master sergeant in the United States Air Force and currently leads the Tractor Supply Veterans Employee Resource Group. “These military heroes have supported our country through their service and it’s a privilege to assist with these gift cards while letting them know how much we support them as they pursue their work in agriculture post-military service.”
In Jacksonville, Fla., Pamela Monk, who served in the Navy for 18 years, received a grant to support her local business, Queen Natural Farm. Monk’s main crop is blueberries, but with the funds she plans to expand her 5-acre farm to grow sweet potatoes, hot peppers, and a variety of herbs.
Long-term, Monk is aiming for Queen Natural Farm to be a place for the community to gather and learn best practices in growing food, fishing, and conserving energy with solar panels and irrigation.
“The partnership between FVC and Tractor Supply is so meaningful to our community,” said Rachel Petitt, fellowship program director at FVC.. “The funding from Tractor Supply is crucial for us to meet the demand of the fellowship program, and each year we set a new record number of applicants.”
In the three years of partnership between Tractor Supply and the FVC, 150 farmer veterans have been awarded $150,000 in gift cards.
Based in Brentwood, Tenn., Tractor Supply operates more than 1,860 stores in 49 states along with 180 Petsense stores in 26 states.