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WASHINGTON — A new nationwide labeling program will allow farmers, ranchers and fishermen who served in the military to use a special logo to promote their agricultural products.
The “Homegrown by Heroes” labeling was first created by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in 2013. The label allows consumers and businesses purchasing agricultural products to see the logo in multiple areas, enabling them to select products that support U.S. farmer veterans. The initiative is now being expanded nationwide.
“Farming and military service are more closely linked than one might think,” said Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. “Thousands of our service men and women leave the rural communities and farms they call home in order to serve our country in the military. Upon completion of their service, they often return home to resume work on the family farm.”
The Farmers Veterans Coalition, a group working to help veterans feed America, said that while 16 percent of America’s population is rural, 40 percent of the men and women who serve in the U.S. military come from those same rural communities.
To qualify for the “Homegrown By Heroes” label, the individual must have served honorably or still be serving in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and be at least 50 percent owner and/or operator of the farm business.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition said it has contracted with a marketing firm to design the artwork and other materials to be used for websites, stickers, packaging and displays. These materials will be provided and shipped at a minimal cost to participating veterans, the group said.
Interested veterans can apply to the program by going to: http://www.hgbh.org/
The expansion of the program by the Farmer Veteran Coalition comes through funding from Farm Credit, a provider of credit and other services to rural America.