Saturday, July 4, 2015

LL.M. Alumni Advancing Homegrown By Heroes Program

Independence Day is a particularly good day to announce an exciting new farmer-veterans initiative spearheaded by two of our LL.M. alumni. We are very proud of their work and the new initiative.

On July 2, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Agriculture Department and the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Farmers Veterans Coalition announced the Arkansas Farmer-Veteran Initiative, the Arkansas Grown - Homegrown by Heroes program.

Founded by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the Homegrown by Heroes program provides a certified labeling opportunity that gives consumers the opportunity to show their recognition and appreciation to veterans by purchasing the agricultural products they raise. The endeavor is now operated by Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC), and it is spreading state-by-state. Arkansas is the latest of more than 40 states that have signed on.

AR Agric. Sec. Wes Ward, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, FVC Counsel, Jason Foscolo
Our LL.M. Alumnus, Jason Foscolo of The Food Law Firm serves as General Counsel and Chief Operations Officer for the FVC and was on hand for the announcement.  Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward, another of our alumni, is credited with bringing the program to Arkansas, working with the assistance of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs and the support of Governor Hutchinson. We are extremely proud to have these two distinguished Marine Veterans representing our LL.M program.

The Arkansas Grown - Homegrown by Heroes program. is designed to give Arkansas veteran farmers an additional marketing tool, to encourage Veterans to pursue careers in agriculture, and to recruit more Veterans to Arkansas. Because a diverse agriculture is such an important aspect of Arkansas's economy - it has an impact of more than $20 billion annually - there are many opportunities for Veterans in Arkansas agriculture.

The program is open to any veteran and active duty, National Guard or Reserve member. Businesses or operations certified by the Homegrown by Heroes Arkansas Grown label must maintain veteran ownership of 50 percent or more. Businesses must be an approved member of the Arkansas Grown program before certification for use of the merged label.

Program requirements and benefits include:

  • Products certified under the merged label must meet food safety guidelines applicable to their products in the regions in which the products are being distributed and/or sold;
  • The Farmer Veteran Coalition, part of the Homegrown by Heroes program, will work with applicants to determine food safety requirements;
  • The coalition's food-safety experts will help plan and execute food safety measures;
  • Business planning, financial consultation and legal assistance will be provided during and after the certification process.

We encourage everyone to look for the Homegrown by Heroes whenever shopping!  Happy Fourth of July to all, and a special shout of appreciation to our veterans.  

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