Agriculture is not always peace and tranquility, but in some way, it is helping to lift the spirits of some Hoosier veterans. The Indiana Grown Homegrown By Heroes program assists members of the military who want to be in the ag business.
“If there is an existing military person, a veteran who is or wants to get into farming, well the produce, the products, the ag food products that they would sell have the benefit of getting Indiana Grown affixed to it, presuming it is grown in Indiana of course, but also it gets the logo Homegrown By Heroes affixed,” says Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney.
The program not only helps Hoosier veterans, but also focuses on buying local produce.
Co-founder and owner of Hallelujah Acres Farm, James Catron in Boone County, credits Indiana Grown Homegrown By Heroes as being instrumental in the launch of the family’s small farm business.
“Because of the brand they give us -- the little tags they give us -- to let people know it’s local grown by veterans, it gives us an opportunity to educate people especially in Indiana," Catron says. "A lot of people don’t know that 90 percent of their food is trucked in, so it’s a good way of educating and talking to people about supporting the veterans that are involved with this but also teaching people on what’s happening with our food supply.”
Founded by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Farmer Veteran Coalition was granted the honor of administering the program nationally on Veterans Day 2013. Since then, the program has expanded to include over 550 members in 48 states plus Puerto Rico. HBH is supported by several national agriculture and food safety leaders such USDA, Farm Credit Services of America, and the American Farm Bureau.