The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is aiding veterans or current active duty service members who are interested in a second career in our state’s number one industry, agriculture. The Homegrown by Heroes program allows Illinois farmers, ranchers, fishermen and producers who have served or are still serving in any branch of the U.S. military to use a special logo on the agricultural products they sell to the public. This special designation sets these farmers apart in the market, allowing these heroes' products to be visible to consumers while giving them the chance to tell their story.
The Homegrown by Heroes program is a free program for our veterans, with a 3 year renewal. For those who qualify, the Homegrown by Heroes Illinois Product logo can be used it to identify and market their Illinois grown and Illinois made products on packaging, signage, websites and social media or wherever their items are being sold.
Benefits of using the Homegrown by Heroes Logo:
- The Homegrown By Heroes label differentiates veteran-produced products in competitive markets.
- It provides consumers a tangible way to support veterans. America loves her veterans and there is no better way for citizens to show their support than by purchasing the fruit of their labor.
- Displaying the label–for example, on your farmers' market stand, egg cartons, canned goods, produce boxes, etc.–gives veterans the point-of-sale visibility needed to be successful in the marketplace.
- Displaying the logo on a farmers' market stand–or anywhere you do business–invites consumers to ask about the label, providing an opportunity for the veteran to share their story and connect with their customers. In many cases, this leads to loyal, returning customers.
- Homegrown By Heroes brand awareness is growing rapidly as a result of national publicity and exposure. Your products will be associated with a unique and honorable food label, giving you a competitive advantage.
Who is elegible:
- Veterans of any branch of the U.S. Military from all service eras–including those currently serving.
- Those who received a characterization of service of 'Honorable' or 'General (Under Honorable Conditions)' upon discharge.
- Agribusinesses and farming operations that maintain a minimum of 50% veteran ownership and a minimum of 50% veteran management control.
- Value-added products that contain a minimum of 50% non-water ingredients produced by an HBH-certified producer.
Thanks to the Department’s partnership with various agencies and organizations, such as the Illinois Farm Bureau, Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC), Illinois National Guard, Illinois Veterans Affairs, and statewide Farmer Veterans Program training and education also are components of the initiative, which will make informational resources available to veterans desiring to farm in the state. These programs will:
- Develop mentorships between experienced farmers and veterans;
- Identify community land access that benefits beginning farmers and saves municipalities’ maintenance costs;
- Locate farmers' market opportunities and partnerships;
- Assist veterans in developing value-added products;
- Foster relationships with retailers and food service organizations.
How to Apply:
Step 1: Register with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC)
Apply for FVC Membership
Register with FVC Homegrown by Heroes for Certification
Step 2: Register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA)
- Apply for the Illinois Homegrown by Heroes Products Logo Program
Veterans can provide their certificate or certification letter from Farmer Veteran Coalition to the IDOA as verification that they have been certified as a veteran to use the HBH label.
Fore more information please contact:Illinois Homegrown by Heroes Program
Illinois Department of Agriculture Marketing and Promotions
P. O. Box 19281
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9281