Tennessee’s farmer veterans serve twice

NASHVILLE – This Veteran’s Day, we will honor the brave men and women who have served our country, but did you know that some Tennessee veterans are now serving by producing the food we eat and the fiber we use?

Tennessee has more than 400 farmer veterans. One of them is Dennis Scales, owner of Running Hog Farm in Rutherford County. Scales served in the United State Marine Corps, and now raises pastured, heritage breed hogs.

“Having the opportunity to do what I love while providing for my community is highly rewarding,” Scales said. “The local support for farmer veterans here in Tennessee is unmatched.”

The Farmer Veteran Coalition is one source of support for farmers like Scales. This national nonprofit organization offers the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund grant program, which provides direct financial assistance to veterans who are in their beginning years of farming and ranching. In 2018, Tennessee farmers received more Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund grants than any other state.

“After all that our veterans have sacrificed for us, they deserve our support,” Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton said. “Our farmer veterans have given and continue to give for their communities. By purchasing local food, joining Community Supported Agriculture groups, and buying directly from the farm, we can give back.”

Are you looking to support farmer veterans the next time you buy groceries? Look for the Homegrown By Heroes label. Homegrown By Heroes is the official farmer veteran branding program of America. The label shows that agricultural products were produced by U.S. military veterans, and it can be found on more than 70 food items throughout the state.

Pick Tennessee is a service of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture that connects consumers to farms, farmers, farmers markets, artisan foods and farm related activities across the state. Look for the Homegrown By Heroes logo when visiting www.PickTNProducts.org and follow “PickTNProducts” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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