Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer recently launched two new programs to help Kentucky military veterans find jobs in agriculture and sell their farm products.
“The Jobs for Vets Program matches farmers and agriculture businesses with veterans who need jobs,” said Kentucky Department of Agriculture spokesperson Holly VonLuehrte. “The Home Grown by Heroes Label, which is a new Kentucky brand initiative where if a consumer goes into a store you can look for the Home Grown by Heroes label and that will tell you that the product is made or grown by a veteran farmer. This tells you how you can support your veteran farmers out there in Kentucky.”
VonLuehrte said the need for jobs is “crucial” particularly in the rural areas, such as Harlan County. She said there are many veterans in the Harlan County area and this is one way the commissioner is trying to help them find employment.
“These veterans come home from war, and I think, this is one thing we can do to help them find employment and feed their families,” said VonLuehrte. “We owe it to them. That’s the commissioner’s goal here — job creation. If we can match these farmers with our veterans and we can help feed the individuals who have gone off to war and fought for our country, I think that’s a huge success story for the Department of Agriculture.”
Kentucky Proud Jobs for Vets is a strategic partnership initiative between the Department of Agriculture and USA Cares, a Kentucky based 501 (c) (3) charitable organization which provides financial and advocacy support to military members, veterans and their families. Kentucky Proud farms and agriculture-related businesses may participate. Farms and businesses in the program may display the Kentucky Proud Jobs for Vets logo.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic reported that the unemployment rate among post 9/11 veterans nationwide was 10.8 percent in December, compared with an overall unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.
“We hope when folks go out to their local grocery stores and vendors they will look for the Home Grown by Heroes label,” said VonLuehrte. “Buy local and help your veterans.”
For more information on these programs, you may go to www.kentuckyproud.com/veterans or www.kyagr.com. You may also call the Department of Agriculture at 1-502-573-0450.