HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding is extending his thanks to Pennsylvania’s more than 7,000 farmer veterans for serving their communities through agriculture after returning home from military service.
“Veterans and their families should be thanked and honored every day for their service and sacrifice. We recognize these heroes, and also thank the thousands of servicemembers who come home and choose to serve their communities through agriculture,” said Redding. “Farming is a natural fit for many veterans – it’s a noble, hands-on career that feeds families and offers a sense of community. To encourage and grow veteran farming, the Wolf Administration recently announced a new farmer veteran grant program, which is open for applications.”
Veterans in agriculture can apply for grants of up to $10,000 to meet their agricultural business needs, as part of a new grant program made possible by the Wolf Administration’s PA Farm Bill.
Through the PA Farm Bill, the Department of Agriculture has awarded $200,000 to two veterans’ service organizations which are offering the farmer-veteran grants. Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded for various agricultural business needs ranging from food safety and biosecurity planning, to equipment, marketing, or working capital.
The farmer veteran grants are available through the following veterans’ service organizations:
- Greenforge, Inc. (Pennsylvania Veteran Farming Project), Greensburg (Westmoreland County)
$100,000 to provide grants up to $10,000 to eligible veteran farmer applicants for working capital for farm equipment and supplies, cost sharing, tangible marketing supplies, or other demonstrated needs in alignment with the PA Agriculture Veteran Grant Program Request for Proposals as part of the Force Multiplier Grant program.
The application period closes November 14, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. Contact Mimi Thomas-Brooker, Project Director at 724-691-1087 or email@example.com for more information.
- Community Partnership Inc., Butler (Butler County)
$100,000 to provide grants up to $10,000 to eligible veteran farmer applicants as part of their beginning farmer program to cover costs associated with working capital, equipment, supplies, and other applicable farming needs in addition to receiving on-farm education and business training support.
The application period closes December 2, 2022. Contact Sandra Curry, Executive Director at 724-431-3623 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“On behalf of the veterans in our statewide network, thank you to Secretary Redding for his leadership in bringing this PA Farm Bill-funded program to fruition. The Force Multiplier Grants will provide immediate impacts to strengthen and sustain small, veteran-owned farms statewide,” said Mimi Thomas-Brooker, Director, PA Veteran Farming Network/Troops to Tractors. “Everyone wins with this collaboration: local economies, veteran farmers and their families, and their neighbors – the beneficiaries of nutritious, locally-grown farm products and foods.”
“We are humbled, honored, and excited to have been chosen to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania’s veteran agricultural community on the PA Veteran Farmer’s grant program,” said Sandra Curry, Executive Director, Community Partnership, Inc. of Butler County. “Community Partnership, Inc. is excited to work with beginning veteran farmers to provide access to capital and business education.”
The Wolf Administration has actively supported veterans engaged in farming through the Homegrown by Heroes program, in collaboration with the Farmer Veteran Coalition, and managed through the PA Preferred program. The program currently has more than 60 members, and the department is encouraging more farmer veterans to join to take advantage of marketing and other opportunities, which provide a tangible way for consumers to support and connect with Pennsylvania veterans.
Since 2015, the Wolf Administration has invested more than $15 million to grow PA Preferred brand recognition, helping consumers identify agricultural products grown, produced, and processed in Pennsylvania, including products carrying the Homegrown by Heroes labeling and resources to support farmer veterans.
To learn more about veterans in agriculture and the department’s programs, visit the Department of Agriculture’s website.
–Katie Schroeder, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture