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Farmer Veteran Coalition Archive

Legal Assistance for Military Veterans in Farming

January 13, 2015

UnknownFarming and food production can involve a variety of complicated legal transactions. Professional advice is essential at innumerable points during a farmer’s career. The Farmer Veteran Coalition now has a resource for farmer-veterans who have questions about contracts, product liability, labeling law, trademarks, or any other issue they may face. In cooperation with our firm, The Farmer Veteran Coalition can now offer a range of free legal services to military veterans who have previously registered with the Coalition.

Jason is a former Judge Advocate and veteran of the United States Marine Corps, as well as general counsel to the Coalition. This law firm is committed to the successful transition of military veterans into the agriculture industry, and we are very proud to support the superb work of the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

If you are a military veteran with legal questions about your farm business, you can contact info@farmvetco.org, or you can contact Foscolo & Handel PLLC directly at (888) 908 – 4959 or at info@foodlawfirm.com.

The Coalition supports the efforts of farmer-veterans across the country. If you are a fellow attorney willing to provide pro bono services to veterans in your jurisdiction, send an email to jason@foodlawfirm.com and introduce yourself! We can refer veterans to you as the need for local counsel arises.

Road Trip Roundup: Farmer Veteran Coalition Events

November 21, 2014

I was in Normal, Illinois on November 13, 2014, speaking at the Local and Regional Food Summit. The event was sponsored by the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and Heartland Community College.

I was there to announce the launch of a partnership between the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Homegrown by Heroes marketing campaign. Homegrown by Heroes is a trademark that can be affixed to agricultural products grown by farmers who are veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The program is managed by the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) of Davis, California.

Illinois became the very first state in the country to partner with FVC to help promote the mark through its state department of agriculture. Effective immediately, farmer veterans growing within the state of Illinois will qualify to use the Homegrown by Heroes logo in conjunction with the Illinois Product logo. This dual certification will give Illinois retail consumers two compelling reasons to purchase a farm product bearing the mark – it’s local and its veteran-grown.

Special thanks to Cynthia Haskins of Illinois Farm Bureau for the amazing effort to get FVC and Illinois Department of Agriculture together for this marketing program.

This firm created the legal framework for the Homegrown by Heroes program and the licensing required to manage it. I gave the presentation on behalf of the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s Michael O’Gorman, who could not attend due to his presence at FVC’s National Stakeholders Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.


Said Stakeholders Conference was my next destination after Illinois. With the help of Drake University Law School, who hosted the event, FVC brought together various groups from across the country working within the farmer-veteran movement. I was there in part to present the preliminary plans to create statewide chapters of the Farmer Veteran Coalition throughout the United States and its territories.

As a veteran, I get a particular satisfaction out of my involvement with FVC. I get to meet amazing people like Calvin Riggleman of Big Riggs Farm, Mickey Clayton of Dot Ranch, Chris Holman of Nami Moon Farms, and so many more. When I hear how hard these vets work, how much they love what they do, and the extent to which they experience farming as rehabilitative, I cannot help but be inspired by them.

Finally, I passed through Chicago-O’Hare Airport 3 times in 4 days, and each time I absorbed some free Vitamin D by the lights of the indoor edible garden by Gate G.

Food Law and the Farmer Veteran Coalition

August 25, 2011

I returned on Sunday from the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s latest event in Elkins, Pennsylvania. The event provided training and education for veterans interested in small-scale intensive farming practices. I presented a brief lecture on small business law and agricultural law. I made sure to note some of the very important exceptions available to farmers from the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. I also covered the general principles of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and covered briefly the subject of the Agricultural Bankruptcy code. My goal was to introduce them to the concept of Agricultural Exceptionalism, the idea that farmers and food producers are treated differently under the law, and that these differences can be exploited for financial benefit.

As I chatted with the participants about their business plans, I noticed that each one wanted to explore some agricultural niche. A Marine I roomed with shared an impressive amount of knowledge on the subject of aquaponics. Another is already in business growing and direct-marketing some very rare and insanely hot chilies (I tried a “mild” one, the size of a large corn kernel, which melted half my face). Most of the rest were interested in growing organically or growing specialty crops and heritage breeds.

I also noticed that there was a familiar intensity to everything they did. They asked some very shrewd questions during my brief, the kind you would only expect from first or second year law students. They quickly grasped some sophisticated agricultural techniques during Andy Pressman’s superb Small Plot Intensive Farming class. Most of vets came to the retreat with fully articulated business plans, compelling products they were growing already, or some other interesting marketing approach.

The vets I met with are still enormous assets for their country. They are creating jobs, strengthening rural communities, and growing great food. As they always have, they will succeed in this. If you want to get involved in a great cause, click here.



Farmer Veteran Coalition

August 6, 2011

I am proud to announce my affiliation with the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a California-based, non-profit organization. The Coalition provides agricultural training and education as well as financial assistance to returning veterans so that they may build viable careers on our nation’s farms.

The organization has done some amazing things, they get great press (which they absolutely deserve), and I can personally attest to the professionalism and dedication of its leadership. If you would like to get involved or make a donation, I highly recommend it. To give your support, click here.

I will participate in the Coalition’s upcoming event in Philadelphia on August 19 – 21. The veterans in attendance will receive training in small-scale, intensive vegetable production. I will be presenting a brief on small business law, food safety regulations and food-born illness liability, farm labor laws, and the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. I am looking forward to getting in front of the troops again.