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Support Farmer Veterans By Looking For The Homegrown By Heroes Label

Photo credit: Farmer Veteran CoalitionPhoto credit: Farmer Veteran Coalition

hbh-logoFarming is a tough job which demands long days of hard work, with little chance of retiring rich and living on a private island.  Those Americans who choose to become a farmer do so for something other than the money.  So, when a Veteran leaves the military and decides that they want to become a farmer, it says a lot about them.  One way to support these Farmer Veterans is to look for goods produced by these farmers with the Homegrown By Heroes (HBH) label.   The Farmer Veteran Coalition has run the Homegrown By Heroes program since Veterans Day, 2013 and as Michael O’Gorman, Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition put’s it, “The Veterans we work with have served their country twice — once by defending it and now by feeding it.”

Created by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the Homegrown By Heroes program is a marketing campaign that affords farmer veterans the recognition, pride and consumer support of their agricultural business and products.  After proving successful in Kentucky, the program is being taken nationwide by the Farmer Veteran Coalition.  The most recent state to partner with the Homegrown By Heroes program is Louisiana.  Overall, the Homegrown By Heroes program includes 250 members in 43 states and is supported by several national agriculture and food safety leaders such USDA, Farm Credit Services of America, and the American Farm Bureau.

An Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War, Kentucky farmer Danny Townsend proudly displays the Homegrown By Heroes sign at his booth when he sells sorghum at the Montgomery County Farmers Market in Mount Sterling, Kentucky.

An Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War, Kentucky farmer Danny Townsend proudly displays the Homegrown By Heroes sign at his booth when he sells sorghum at the Montgomery County Farmers Market in Mount Sterling, Kentucky.

The mission of Homegrown By Heroes is simple; to engage the consumer in a completely new way by communicating that Homegrown By Heroes agricultural products represent the labors of hardworking veterans that have now chosen to become farmers to feed the nation. The Homegrown By Heroes label should represent authenticity, allowing consumers to proudly support veteran-farmers.

Several State Departments of Agriculture have officially partnered with Homegrown By Heroes to promote the HBH label within their states. States such as Kentucky, Illinois, and Arkansas have developed labels that combine their own “Buy Local” logo with the HBH logo. Other states such as Ohio and South Carolina have elected to promote the HBH label separately but in harmony with their own “Buy Local” labels.

Homegrown By Heroes Partner States

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If you are a Farmer Veteran, The eligibility and certification requirements for the Homegrown By Heroes program are listed below.

Eligibility

  • Any veteran, active duty, National Guard, or Reserve member of the United States Armed Forces, having served honorably, without regard to age or era of duty
    • Veterans provide a copy of their Department of Defense Form 214 (DD-214) (or equivalent)
      • Characterization of service of Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions)
    • Active duty members provide a letter of support from their commanding officer or designated representative attesting to their service under honorable conditions
  • Businesses or operations that are certified by the label must maintain 50% or greater veteran ownership
  • Products certified under the label must contain 50% or more veteran produced ingredients (non-water)

Certification

  • One of the great benefits of Homegrown by Heroes is professional, individualized food safety assistance
  • Products certified under the label must as a minimum clear food safety guidelines applicable to their products in the region those products are being distributed and/or sold
    • Farmer Veteran Coalition will work with each applicant to determine food safety requirements by product
    • Farmer Veteran Coalition’s food safety experts will assist in planning and execution of successful food safety measures
  • Business planning and financial consultation, as well as legal assistance, is available during and after the certification process

 

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