There are around 20 million military veterans in the U.S. In Illinois alone, over 647,000 call the state home, while nearly 212,000 reside in Iowa and 451,000 in Missouri.
I’ve seen the positive impact that military veterans can have on a business, bringing a variety of valuable skills and strong work ethics to various industries.
Recently, I checked out The Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ report, “The Business Case for Hiring Veterans.” After identifying the increasing numbers of veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce, the document highlights major reasons why hiring veteran talent is a win/win for business:
- Veterans bring critical technical skills to the workplace, positively impacting the time and cost for a veteran employee to be productive on the job.
- Employers can take advantage of federal funding supporting veterans initiatives.
- Employers who hire veterans build goodwill with their customers, employees and community.
All this is especially true for agribusinesses because 45 percent of armed service members are from rural America.
The benefits of hiring veterans are not lost on the USDA.
The USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach is working with several states and organizations to create programs to help veterans transition to farming, ranching, and other agricultural jobs. According to the OAO, while no federal programs exist specifically for veteran farmers and ranchers, financial and resource management training programs at USDA can have a significant impact on helping vets establish and maintain successful farming or ranching businesses.
Farm equipment companies know it’s good business to support our military vets, as well. Over the years, they have offered financial support and a variety of product discounts. Here are just a few examples:
In partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Kubota Tractor Corporation has the “Geared to Give” program, which aims to provide financial support and donated Kubota equipment to U.S. military veterans pursuing a future in farming. Kubota supplies its Standard L Series compact tractors to the effort.
FVC selects qualified veterans from all branches who are FVC fellowship members and actively pursuing farming to be considered for donated Kubota equipment and other support.
Kubota also offers FVC members a customer rebate program on select Kubota equipment. Depending on the tractor model series, buyers can receive up to a $500 instant rebate.
In 2014, AGCO partnered with AGCO dealers to raise nearly $100,000 in support of wounded service veterans. A $500 donation was made in the name of each dealership involved on behalf of AGCO.
Military servicemen and servicewomen are eligible for a complimentary John Deere Rewards upgrade (Platinum 1 status), which unlocks the best loyalty rewards including equipment discounts.
Once you're a Platinum member, you get savings on John Deere equipment, which can be combined with national offers for even more savings.
To date, those savings include: up to $1,700 on commercial mowers; $150 off of residential mowers; $250 off select utility vehicles; $250 off select compact and utility tractors; and 15 percent off compact construction equipment such as skid steer loaders.
Mahindra USA has partnered with Operation Finally Home, which provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to America’s military heroes and the widows of the fallen.
Beyond sponsoring new homes for these wounded heroes and their families, Mahindra supports Warrior Weekend. These weekend retreats offered through Operation Finally Home assist with the healing process by building friendships between people with shared experiences. Veterans receiving custom-built homes through Mahindra and Operation Finally Home gather for a weekend of bonding and relaxing on a ranch in Texas.
Veterans also can get rebates on Mahindra equipment through the Mahindra Military Appreciation Program.
To be sure, many other ag companies are involved with supporting veterans’ programs and focusing on hiring vets. As they should be.
After all, our military service men and women have dedicated a portion of their lives to protecting our rights and freedoms. And they bring so much talent to the farm production table.
If you’re a military veteran, thank you for your service!
Michael Gustafson has written for and about farm equipment companies, their products and dealerships for more than 40 years, including 25 years with John Deere. He lives on a small acreage in Dennison, Ill.