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Arkansas Launches Farmer-Veteran Initiative

2 min read

A new intiative to promote the work of farmer veterans was unveiled Thursday at the state Capitol. 

The “Homegrown by Heroes Arkansas Grown” program incorporates the national Homegrown by Heroes program into the Arkansas Grown initiative, which promotes Arkansas farmers and growers and their products.

A collaboration between the Arkansas Agriculture Department and the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, the program encourages veterans of miltary service to pursue careers in agriculture and aims to attract more service members to Arkansas once their tours of duty are complete.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson was joined by Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward and Arkansas Veterans Affairs Director Matt Snead at Thursday’s announcement in the Capitol rotunda. He noted the program also will serve to highlight the roles of veterans and farmers and their economic impact.

“The least we can do is give our veterans a branding tool to market their products,” he said.

Ward said Arkansas remains an agricultural state with an economic impact of more than $20 billion annually.

“Our agricultural diversity is good, and this can serve as a recruiting tool for military veterans looking to relocate or launch a new career,” he said.

About 250,000 veterans call Arkansas home, Snead said.

The program is open to any veteran and active duty, National Guard or Reserve member. Businesses or operations certified by the Homegrown by Heroes Arkansas Grown label must maintain veteran ownership of 50 percent or more. Businesses must be an approved member of the Arkansas Grown program before certification for use of the merged label.

Program requirements and benefits include:

  • Products certified under the merged label must meet food safety guidelines applicable to their products in the regions in which the products are being distributed and/or sold;
  • The Farmer Veteran Coalition, part of the Homegrown by Heroes program, will work with applicants to determine food safety requirements;
  • The coalition’s food-safety experts will help plan and execute food safety measures;
  • Business planning, financial consultation and legal assistance will be provided during and after the certification process.

More information on the program is available through the Agriculture Department at AAD.Arkansas.gov or 501-683-4851

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