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Veteran-owned farms supported by $10 million Fresh Food Financing

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Anthony J. Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, recently toured U.S. Navy veteran James Cornwell’s Nine Pines Farm in York, and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Daniel Hubbard’s Hubbard Family Ranch in Gardners, Adams County.

The aim of the tour on Nov. 6 was to highlight state support of veterans and engender consumer support for veteran-owned farms.

Both farms received grants in September through the state’s $10 million Fresh Food Financing Initiative COVID-19 Relief Fund to expand access to fresh food in low-income communities during the pandemic.

“These men and their families have served their country well,” Redding said. “And they continue to serve their neighbors who struggle to access fresh, nutritious food.

“For both, these veteran-farmers deserve our thanks today, as we approach Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, and every single day of the year. They are truly heroes.”

Carrelli commented on the veterans’ service to their country.

“These proud veterans and their families sacrificed much to protect our freedoms while in uniform and now are working just as hard as farm families feeding our nation,” Carrelli said. “We thank the departments of Agriculture and Community and Economic Development, which looked deep into our communities and selected these two deserving veteran-owned businesses for the grants.

“These great veteran farm families are now better equipped to increase food production so that Pennsylvanians have more reliable access to food despite the disruptions of COVID-19.”

Nine Pines Farm received a $90,000 grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Fresh Food Financing Initiative to expand its poultry operation and make more fresh turkey and chicken available to consumers, particularly in nearby low-income areas.

“With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more apparent than ever, the need for strong, local food producers in and around areas where food security is a daily struggle,” Cornwell said in his grant application.

“We will be using funds to assist in accommodating the room needed to raise and store more chicken so that it can be brought to market, specifically to those in need in our nearby food desert.”

The Hubbard Family Ranch received $15,000 through the initiative to support their poultry and non-GMO feed operation.

The tour was hosted by Pa. Veteran Farming Project, which connects military veterans to programs and resources, including those available through the state.

The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs connects veterans to resources through the Pennsylvania Veterans Registry, an online application that allows veterans, family members and people who work with veterans to connect with DMVA to request information related to the valuable state benefits, programs and services offered.

For information as it relates to agriculture during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania visit agriculture.pa.gov/COVID.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Daniel Hubbard (center) talks with Anthony J. Carrelli, Pa. adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (right) and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding on Hubbard's Family Ranch in Adams County on Nov. 6. Hubbard's ranch received grants through the state's $10 million Fresh Food Financing Initiative COVID-19 Relief Fund. PRESS PHOTO COURTESY Commonwealth Media Services