Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Brig. Gen. Mark McCormack honored members of the PA Preferred® Homegrown by Heroes program for their service to our nation and to Pennsylvania, through their military service and work in agriculture. The two agencies celebrated Pennsylvania’s investments in farmer-veterans in a ceremony at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.
“Those who serve in our armed services and those who work in production agriculture are committed to a higher cause. Love of country and its defense and love of humanity and growing the food that people need to survive,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Today, we recognize that commitment and hear how we can better serve their needs as they work to provide for Pennsylvania.”
Following the recognition ceremony, Homegrown by Heroes members and stakeholders of the agriculture industry and military service gathered with leaders of the Wolf Administration for a roundtable discussion to provide feedback on bolstering the program with new funding provided through Governor Tom Wolf’s historic Pennsylvania Farm Bill.
“Most of Pennsylvania’s 800,000 veterans live in rural areas and many seek careers in the agricultural field,” said Brig. Gen. Mark McCormack, of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Homegrown by Heroes supports veteran farmers by labeling products as such, encouraging Pennsylvanians to support veterans.”
Through the PA Farm Bill, the PA Preferred trademark program was amended to bolster the Homegrown by Heroes program, supporting military veterans engaged in agriculture. Through this amendment, sponsored by Representative Eddie Day Pashinski and signed by Governor Wolf in July, $1 million has been provided to increase program membership, improve consumer awareness of the brand, and also offer services to the farmer-veteran members to further enhance individual marketing and grow their enterprise.
“This spring, I sponsored the legislation to expand the Homegrown by Heroes program to encourage more farmer veterans to participate in a program that recognizes PA Preferred products that are grown by military veterans. By purchasing products with these labels, Pennsylvanians are providing tangible support to our Commonwealth’s heroes while having confidence in the quality of their purchase,” said Representative Eddie Day Pashinski. “I encourage all Pennsylvanians to support our state’s farmers by looking for the PA Preferred label whenever they shop – especially those with a Homegrown by Heroes logo. As I always say: Grown in PA. Buy PA. PA Preferred.”
The PA Farm Bill is Governor Wolf’s bold, aggressive, and necessary investment in Pennsylvania agriculture to grow opportunities and resources, remove barriers to entry, and inspire future generations of leader for the industry.