The Homegrown by Heroes program allows Illinois
farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and producers who have served or are
still serving in any branch of the U.S. military to use a special
logo on the agricultural products they sell to the public. This
special designation sets these farmers apart in the market, allowing
these heroes' products to be visible to consumers while giving them
the chance to tell their story.
"There are great job opportunities in Illinois agriculture. If
someone dreams of being a farmer, rancher, or producer, we want to
help fulfil those dreams," says Agriculture Director Raymond Poe.
"Various statewide organizations work together to provide a unique
opportunity that assists veterans interested in pursuing a second
career in agriculture."
"Since 2011, almost 5 million of our military’s servicemen and
servicewomen have come from rural communities throughout the USA. As
these veterans return home, they bring with them an opportunity to
employ their discipline, passion and sense of service to revitalize
America’s small farms and rural communities. We commend the Illinois
Department of Agriculture for continuing this wonderful program and
assisting our Illinois Heroes," said Illinois Department of
Veterans' Affairs Director Erica Jeffries.
The Homegrown by Heroes program is a free program for our veterans.
Participants must renew their certification annually renewal at no
cost. To be eligible for the program, the veteran must provide proof
of service, a letter of support from their commanding officer or a
designated representative, and must maintain 50-percent or greater
ownership in the business/operation.
For those who qualify, the Homegrown by Heroes Illinois Product logo
can be used to identify and market their Illinois grown and Illinois
made products on packaging, signage, websites, and social media or
wherever their items are being sold.
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Thanks to the Department’s partnership with
various agencies and organization, such as Illinois Farm Bureau,
Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC), Illinois National Guard, Illinois
Department of Veterans Affairs, and Illinois Farmer Veterans
Alliance, training and education also are components of the
initiative, which will make informational resources available to
veterans desiring to farm in the state.
These programs will:
- Develop mentorships between experienced
farmers and veterans;
- Identify community land access that benefits
beginning farmers and saves municipalities’ maintenance costs;
- Locate farmers' market opportunities and
- Assist veterans in developing value-added
- Foster relationships with retailers and food
How to Apply:
Register with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC)
Apply for FVC Membership;
Register with FVC Homegrown by Heroes
Register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture
Complete the Homegrown By Heroes Products Logo Application
Veterans can provide their certificate or certification letter
from Farmer Veteran
Coalition to the IDOA as verification that they have been
certified as a veteran to
use the HBH label.
[Illinois Department of Agriculture]