Kubota Tractor Corporation today announced the selection of five new farmer veteran recipients of new Kubota equipment as part of its 2020 “Geared to Give” program in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). In recognition of their current and past U.S. military service and their continued service to their communities through farming, country music singer and songwriter Brantley Gilbert helped Kubota and FVC honor each veteran, inviting those nearby to his farm to bestow the gift of Kubota equipment that will help them achieve self-sufficiency and take their farming operation to the next level.
“It truly is the American dream for many – and certainly those returning or starting a new career in farming – to become a self-sufficient farmer, with the right mix of equipment, drive, and determination to make tending to the land your life’s work,” said Alex Woods, Kubota senior vice president of sales operations, supply chain, and parts. “Kubota is proud to work with FVC and with Brantley and his team to recognize the 2020 recipients and help us power and empower them with the right equipment to help them achieve their dreams.”
Kubota’s Geared to Give program has provided equipment and grants to 36 farmer veterans since 2015 through FVC’s Fellowship Fund, which matches veterans’ needs with donated resources to help them further their agriculture careers.
“Helping veterans achieve self-sufficiency in farming communities across the country is one of the greatest joys of our work,” said Jeanette Lombardo, executive director of FVC. “We’re extremely grateful to continue working alongside Kubota to deliver the right mix of much-needed equipment to take our veterans’ farms to the next level; it’s truly the greatest gift, particularly for farmers just starting out.”
Gilbert, a strong supporter of efforts to honor active duty military and veterans’ organizations, wanted to get involved and invited this year’s honorees to his farm in Alabama for a special ceremony and private performance in celebration of National Farmer’s Day.
“We wouldn’t have the abundance or variety of food we have today without our nation’s farmers,” said Gilbert. “I’m honored to be able to share in this effort with Kubota and FVC, and to pay tribute to all our active military and especially to these five veterans who have served our country once in the armed forces and who continue serving their communities today through farming.”
The 2020 recipients were carefully selected from each one of Kubota’s five operating divisions:
Midwest Division: Cody Miller of Thayer, Iowa, is a U.S. Army veteran who served more than 16 years with one deployment to Afghanistan from 2009-2010, and was raised on his grandmother’s family farm, the same one he is currently operating. Cody farmed up until the day he joined the Army and resumed once he separated from service, tending to 40 acres of row crops, raising ducks and chickens, and learning about horses. He also rents another 200 acres for raising cattle, hay, and row crops, mostly soybeans, and sells his products to local co-ops and plans to sell his calves at the local livestock market. Cody plans to finish his Ag Business degree, purchase his grandmother’s farm to keep it in the family and purchase more cattle. Kubota will award Cody with a 250-hour lease on a Kubota M7 Ag tractor with a loader and baler to handle virtually every agricultural job for his row crop, hay, and cattle operation. To learn more about Cody Miller and Full Moon Farms, visit his www.facebook.com/Full-Moon-Farms-107260121126562/.
Northern Division: Joshua Nelson, of Ripley, West Virginia, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and currently serving as a pilot in the West Virginia Air National Guard with deployments to Kuwait flying combat missions into Iraq and Syria. Josh is a first-generation farmer who turned a hobby farm start-up in 2015 into an approximately 300-acre owned and leased organic grass-based ranch and farm, raising poultry, cattle, pork, bees, and other livestock following regenerative ranching practices. The Nelsons sell their products through a store he co-owns called Farm House Naturals as well as through direct farm sales. To help him achieve his future plans to build ponds for irrigation and water sources for his cattle, as well as develop a full line of grocery and local goods to sell at their farm store, Josh will receive a Kubota MX mid-size tractor, with a cab and loader, and versatile enough to handle almost any application. To learn more about Joshua and Nelson Family Farms, please visit www.instagram.com/theflyingrancher/.
Southeast Division: Kara Rutter of Aiken, South Carolina, retired from the U.S. Army this year after more than 23 years of service. She last served as the Army Central Food Service Sergeant Major overseeing subsistence operations in the Middle East. Her husband, Matt, also retired this year as a Command Sergeant Major after 22 years of service and now serves as president of the FVC South Carolina chapter. Together, they own Project Victory Gardens, a 20-acre farm with chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, pigs, beehives, fruit trees, berry bushes, a 1,000-foot greenhouse, raised bed, and traditional vegetable gardens. Kara has plans to be fully operational in the next 12 months with an aquaponics facility and training lab and teaching kitchen. Her future goals include improving veterans’ mental health and helping them gain employment in agriculture. Kubota will award Kara with an LX Series compact tractor with a cab and loader designed to easily tackle any needed job on the farm. To learn more about Kara and Project Victory Gardens, please visit www.projectvictorygardens.org.
Western Division: Bodhi Anderson of Honomu, Hawaii, is a U.S. Navy veteran who served five years on active duty as a Corpsman for the Marines with deployments to the Adriatic Sea during the Bosnian War and the Middle East. Bodhi was also commissioned as a Navy Reserves MSC Officer (Physician Assistant) providing medical support to the 4th Force Recon Battalion in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Bodhi grew up on an organic vegetable farm and now he and his wife, Brittany, own Sugar Hill Farmstead, a 15-acre farm that specializes in sustainably raised regenerative meats, sold direct-to-consumer for Hawaii Island families. Cattle, sheep, pigs, rabbits, and meat chickens are all processed on-farm and sold as part of a meat CSA. Bodhi will be awarded a Kubota Sidekick RTV-XG850 utility vehicle, built for durability to move up to 1,000 lbs. in its cargo bed, to more easily distribute feed and spent produce currently hand-carried across the farm. He will also receive a $10,000 grant to assist in the expansion of his pastured poultry production to reach his goal of feeding 100 families each month. To learn more about Bodhi and Sugar Hill Farmstead, please visit www.sugarhillfarmstead.com.
Central Division: Andrew Edelen of Alice, Texas, served five and a half years in the U.S. Marine Corps as an aviation equipment mechanic. As a second-generation farmer, he has taken over his family’s 350-acre farm, Edelen Farms, where he produces grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, free-range eggs, and vegetables to sell at local farmers’ markets. Andrew has future goals, which include starting an additional farmers’ market, building new greenhouses, and expanding his products to include pork and goats. To assist in these efforts, Andrew will be awarded a Kubota L Series tractor to replace his ailing 40-year-old tractor to meet his most pressing needs on the farm. To learn more about Andrew and Edelen Farms, please visit www.edelenfarms.com.
Each year, farmer veterans can apply to the FVC Fellowship Fund in order to be considered for donated Kubota equipment through the “Geared to Give” program. For more information on FVC’s 2020 application process, visit www.farmvetco.org. For more information on the “Geared to Give” program, visit Kubota Cares.