MDA launches state branding logo for veterans

Managing Editor

EASTON, Md. (Nov. 8, 2016) — In an effort to support Maryland veterans who have returned home to the farm, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has developed unique signage to identify and promote products grown by local military veterans.
Launching the Maryland’s Best Homegrown by Heroes program last week, Joe Bartenfelder, Maryland agriculture secretary joined elected officials, MidAtlatnic Farm Credit representatives and the program’s first participant, Bob Miller at Rise Up Coffee Roasters in Easton, Md., one of Miller’s largest customers.
The purpose of the program is to support Maryland veteran farmers by branding products with a veteran-specific logo and offering assistance through other business services.
The program is available free of charge to Maryland farmers who have served in any branch of the armed services.
According to the Farm Service Agency, an estimated 200 farmers in Maryland have served in the United States military.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition launched the Homegrown By Heroes program nationally on Veterans Day 2013.
The program currently has over 550 members in 48 states plus Puerto Rico.
Bartenfelder said the addition of the Homegrown by Heroes logo to the Maryland’s Best campaign recognizes a small but important group of farmers who have served honorably and returned to the land.
“I am proud to announce this new program in support of our state’s military veterans,” Bartenfelder said. “These brave men and women have served and protected our country, and they deserve all the support we can give.”
After serving five years in the U.S. Army, Miller returned to his family’s dairy farm near Federalsburg, Md., in 2009 and started Nice Farms Creamery, bottling milk and making yogurt and butter on the farm.
“Growing up on a farm prepared me for my job as an artillery officer,” Miller said, recalling long hours, tough tasks and specific goals to meet on the farm. “Being in business back on the farm was a natural step.”
Miller said using the logo should help to differentiate his products from others on the market.
“I think it’s something that people are going to notice,” Miller said. “There’s so many products out there and this will be another way to get out product out there for people to see.”
Tim Cureton, Rise Up founder and co-owner said the relationship with Nice Farms Creamery fits their mission of supporting other local business.
With five locations, Cureton said they use more than 25,000 gallons of Miller’s milk a year.
“We kind of feel like they’re our cows, just a half hour away,” Cureton said. “Truly our businesses have been improved by this relationship.”