BRENTWOOD, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tractor Supply Company 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, Florida, 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, Michigan. 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.”
Each of the 50 veterans demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the Out Here lifestyle in ways that both Tractor Supply and Farmer Veteran Coalition are proud to honor. 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.
About Tractor Supply Company
Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ: TSCO), the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, has been passionate about serving its unique niche, as a one-stop shop for recreational farmers, ranchers and all those who enjoy living the rural lifestyle, for more than 80 years. Tractor Supply offers an extensive mix of products necessary to care for home, land, pets and animals with a focus on product localization, exclusive brands and legendary customer service that addresses the needs of the Out Here lifestyle. With more than 33,000 Team Members, the Company leverages its physical store assets with digital capabilities to offer customers the convenience of purchasing products they need anytime, anywhere and any way they choose at the everyday low prices they deserve. At March 28, 2020, the Company operated 1,863 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states and an e-commerce website at www.TractorSupply.com.
Tractor Supply Company also owns and operates Petsense, a small-box pet specialty supply retailer focused on meeting the needs of pet owners, primarily in small and mid-size communities, and offering a variety of pet products and services. At March 28, 2020, the Company operated 180 Petsense stores in 26 states. For more information on Petsense, visit www.Petsense.com.
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About Farmer Veteran Coalition
The mission of Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is mobilizing veterans to feed America. A national non-profit charity, it helps active duty and veteran members of our Armed Forces embark on careers in farming or related agricultural professions. Representing more than 20,000 veteran members nationwide, FVC fosters the collaboration of the farming and military communities and cultivates a new generation of farmers and food leaders. They support the men and women who choose to continue their service to the country – once by defending it and now feeding it. Their mission is rooted in their strong belief that veterans possess the unique skills and character to create sustainable food systems and strengthen rural communities. FVC recognizes that agriculture additionally offers veterans purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits.
In addition to their signature programs – the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, Homegrown by Heroes certification, and both their National Conference and regional state chapter conferences – FVC has been successful in getting millions of dollars of USDA funds appropriated for farmer veterans and the groups that support them. They have built an extended community of organizations who look to them for leadership and guidance as the pioneer in this military-to-agriculture movement.
Visit www.farmvetco.org or follow them on Facebook or Instagram at @FarmerVeteranCoalition and Twitter at @FarmVetCo.