Special to the Minden Press-Herald
Tractor Supply Company honored Ringgold veteran Matthew McCain during a nationwide Armed Forces Day shopping event Saturday, May 19 in partnership with Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). McCain was one of 50 recipients across the country to receive a $1,000 Tractor Supply donation through FVC’s Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, a grant program that offers assistance to veterans in the early stages of their farming operations.
In total, Tractor Supply will donate $50,000 in awards, providing Fellowship recipients the opportunity to purchase critical items needed to support their agriculture business. In celebration of the 68th annual Armed Forces Day, which honors all U.S. military personnel, recipients coast-to-coast will redeem their gift cards at their local Tractor Supply store on May 19, including McCain at the Minden location. McCain will be paired with a knowledgeable Tractor Supply team member for a personalized shopping experience tailored to his unique farming needs.
McCain, a one-year U.S. Navy veteran, owns and operates McCain’s Family Farm, LLC in Ringgold.
“Agriculture provides a meaningful, purposeful career that not only benefits the farmer, but also the community it serves,” said Colin Yankee, retired army captain and senior vice president of supply chain at Tractor Supply Company.
“Through Tractor Supply’s partnership with Farmer Veteran Coalition, we can provide a token of our gratitude to these veterans as they continue to give back to their communities in a new way through agriculture.”
This year, FVC, the nation’s largest nonprofit assisting military veterans embarking on agriculture careers, distributed a total of $300,000 to 125 recipients through the Fellowship Fund. Rather than distributing money directly to the veterans, awardees utilize third-party vendors to provide items they have identified will make a crucial difference in the launch of their farm business. In addition to monetary support, the program offers one-on-one mentorship support to each awardee. Since the Fellowship Fund’s beginning in 2011, the program has awarded grants valued at more than $1.9 million to 500 veterans pursuing an occupation in agriculture following their service.
“We are so excited about this new partnership with Tractor Supply Company and what it means for farmer veterans,” said Michael O’Gorman, founder and director of Farmer Veteran Coalition. “Through their support to our Fellowship Fund, Tractor Supply will make a big impact on America’s rural veterans by giving them a much-needed boost as they launch farming businesses.”
This year’s Fellowship awardees were selected by a team of seasoned agriculture industry professionals. Criteria included farm training and experience, personal investment in their farm business, a clear need for assistance, and their vision and goals for the future of their farm business.