Tractor Supply Company, which also owns and operates Petsense, honored 50 military veteran farmers nationwide this month in partnership with Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) in celebration of the Fourth of July. Each awardee 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 clear need for assistance to further their vision and goal for the business. The winning veterans received a $1,000 Tractor Supply gift card for their work and dedication to our country and local communities. 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, FL, 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 these funds she plans to expand her 5-acre farm to grow sweet potatoes, hot peppers and a variety of herbs. Long-term, she strives 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.
After 20 years in the Army, Eric Spalding launched Bee Warriors in Ypsilanti, MI. Spalding opened Bee Warriors as a family-owned apiary to raise honeybees and honey products for sale to the local community. When he started beekeeping, Spalding wanted the therapeutic benefits to help with his PTSD. Now, Spalding dedicates Bee Warriors to supporting the health of both honeybees and veterans.
“The partnership between FVC and Tractor Supply is so meaningful to our community,” said Rachel Petitt, Fellowship Program Director at Farmer Veteran Coalition. “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. Awarding 50 farmer veterans a gift card allows the funds and flexibility needed to grow their business.”
In the three years of partnership, Tractor Supply has awarded 150 farmer veterans with gift cards, totaling to $150,000. Learn more about this partnership and the Fellowship Fund by visiting www.TractorSupply.com/Military.