A new statewide marketing program announced recently is designed to give Virginia farmers who have served in the military the opportunity to participate in a national branding campaign in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC).
The new combined Virginia Grown and Homegrown By Heroes (HBH) logo will inform consumers that products with the logo were produced by Virginia’s military veterans and will serve as an extra incentive to consumers when buying local farm products.
The program is available to Virginia farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and value-added producers of all branches and eras of military service, according to an announcement by the Governor’s Office.
Consumers and businesses purchasing agricultural products should expect to see this logo at the point-of-purchase and on business signage, enabling them to select products that support Virginia’s farmer veterans. Farmer veterans may have their products certified under the HBH label. Farmer training and education also are large components of the initiative, which will make informational resources available to veterans wanting to farm in Virginia. Some of these opportunities may be coordinated by the FVC of Virginia chapter, which officially launched today.
To be eligible for the Virginia Grown Homegrown By Heroes logo, the producer must meet all Virginia Grown criteria, in addition to the following:
- Have veteran, active duty, National Guard or Reserve member of the U.S. Armed Forces status, without regard to age or era of duty;
- Provide a copy of their Department of Defense Form 214 or equivalent;
- Have characterization of service of Honorable or General (under Honorable conditions);
- Provide a letter of support from their commanding officer or designated representative attesting to their service under honorable conditions if they are an active duty member;
- Maintain 50 percent or greater veteran ownership of their business or operation and 50 • Have 50 percent or more non-water ingredients produced by HBH certified producers for products certified under the label.
VDACS’ Virginia Grown program is a marketing tool promoting fresh, local products to consumers and has a proven track record for increasing visibility, developing additional media attention, and enhancing marketing opportunities for Virginia Grown products.
The FVC is the nation’s premier non-profit organization focused on the veterans-to-agriculture movement and administers the HBH label which helps identify products that are grown and raised by our farmer veterans. With more than 1,000 FVC members enrolled in HBH nationwide, many of these farmer veterans realize a premium on their products with a combined total of over $50 million in annual sales.