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May 20, 2014

Farmer Veterans Launch Homegrown By Heroes Initiative

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

The Farmer Veteran Coalition has been working for six years to help transition military veterans into careers in agriculture. Executive Director Michael O’Gorman says the one thing veterans have expressed the most excitement about is some sort of recognition in the marketplace of their service to their country. Now the opportunity for that recognition is available. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyLast week, the Farmer Veteran Coalition launched the Homegrown by Heroes initiative nationwide, which executive director Michael O’Gorman says is a secondary label for food and farm products.
O'GormanIt can be used by any active duty military or retired veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, and it can be used by farmers, ranchers, fishermen on their products to help them get it into the market and get recognition for their military service.
OtterbyCurrently 16 percent of Americans live in rural communities, but O’Gorman says more than 40 percent of the U.S. military comes from those communities.
O'GormanThere’s a lot of interest in returning veterans in agriculture, and we think this market will just give them a boost and a way for the public to support their efforts.
OtterbySo far, 60 veterans across the country have applied to be part of the initiative.
O'GormanOur goal is to get up to 500 veterans in the label by the end of the year. We hope that we get enough veterans to sign up that it’s recognizable and that the public that’s anxious to support veterans can recognize the product in the marketplace and select it when they can.
OtterbyThe American Farm Bureau Federation is a supporter of the Homegrown By Heroes program. Veterans can apply online at www dot HGBH dot org (http://www.hgbh.org/). Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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