WACO, Texas — One small grant made a big difference.
Air Force veteran, Steve Easom of Lexington, Oklahoma, received a grant from Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) at the perfect time to make a difference in his developing bee business. Used to purchase bees, beehives, pollinating plants, and nectar trees, Steve’s business, Tru Bee Removal, also provides opportunities for veterans and first responders to learn about beekeeping and put their skills to use in assisting others with safe bee removal. The best part about this award according to Steve is “This equipment is going to have a ripple out effect and assist many other veterans.” Since receiving the award, Tru Bee Removal has safely relocated over 104 bee colonies, provided opportunities for 112 veterans and now has 97 happy clients.
Steve’s story is one of many.
A national non-profit that serves over 35,000 veterans turned farmers, FVC is creating a new generation of farmers and food leaders while simultaneously offering veterans a place to heal on America’s farms. Through education and resources, FVC helps veterans with their own farming operation or with finding employment in related agriculture professions. The Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund is their small grant program, it helps veterans in the early years of farming, ranching or agri-business with the purchase of a piece of critical equipment. Hundreds of farmer veterans across the country who have benefitted from the grant share Steve’s sentiment. In it’s first 11 years, the Fellowship Fund has funded veterans with $4 million in equipment. And now, a new grant cycle is underway. FVC has opened the fellowship fund application for 2023, this new cycle will remain open until February 14, 2023.
“The Fellowship Fund is one of the most successful ways we help farmer veterans with their agricultural endeavors,” emphasizes FVC’s Executive Director, Jeanette Lombardo. Grant applications are reviewed by an advisory committee of agricultural industry professionals, and awards will be granted in the spring. Common requests include All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV), breeding livestock, fencing, bee-keeping supplies, greenhouse equipment and tractor implements. This year, funding for the grants is coming from several partner organizations – Kubota Tractor Corporation, Tractor Supply Company, Wounded Warrior Project, ADM, Woods Equipment, Tarter USA, Homestead Implements, and Vital Farms. To become a partner in the FVC Fellowship Fund, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Farmer Veteran Coalition; the mission of FVC is to transition veterans from military service to careers in agriculture. Established in 2008, its in-house programs include the Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund small grant program, the nationally recognized Homegrown By Heroes label for veteran-grown products, as well as national and regional conferences. As the nation’s largest nonprofit assisting veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces embark on careers in agriculture, FVC has been successful in getting millions of dollars of USDA funds appropriated for farmer veterans and the groups that support them. Learn more at www.farmvetco.org or follow on Facebook or Instagram at @FarmerVeteranCoalition and Twitter at @FarmVetCo. To donate equipment to support the fellowship fund, contact us at email@example.com. To donate to farmer veterans directly, visit www.farmvetco.org or text GIVE and the dollar amount to 270-838-3276 (270-VET-FARM).
–Farmer Veteran Coalition