Fighter to Farmer 2017: Mobilizing Veterans to Feed America
In 2008, Michael O’Gorman had a vision of mobilizing veterans to feed America. So the retired California farmer started the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) out of the back of his pickup truck. After working in production agriculture for nearly 40 years, he thought it would be a good retirement project. He got more than he bargained for.
Today, the FVC (farmvetco.org) has more than 9,000 members nationwide and works to provide training, resources, and funding to veterans interested in farming.
After learning about the FVC, Successful Farming magazine was inspired to do more to acknowledge and to thank farmer veteran. This led to the creation of the Fighter to Farmer Contest, sponsored by Grasshopper Mowers.
Despite his growing list of responsibilities, O’Gorman made time to help with the contest last year, including promoting the contest to the FVC and judging more than 120 entries. He’s generously volunteered to be a judge again for the 2017 contest.
While the core part of the contest will remain the same this year, there have been a few changes.
Once again, the contest will look at each farmer veteran’s military service, farming operation, and involvement in the community. One winner selected on these attributes will receive $6,000 toward the purchase of a new Grasshopper mower and $4,000 cash.
New this year, the second winner will be a veteran who has a service-connected disability. In addition to $6,000 toward the purchase of a Grasshopper mower and a $4,000 check, this farmer veteran will receive an AgrAbility consulation and $5,000 from Grasshopper Mowers to purchase adaptive equipment or other services to enhance his or her quality of life.