From the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, Kubota Tractor Corporation today announced its second recipient of a donated Kubota L-Series compact tractor in the “Geared To Give” program, a joint effort in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). Blueberry farmer and military veteran, Jason Kerr of Kerr’s Berry Farm in Dewitt, Iowa, was recognized in a special ceremony today by Kubota and FVC executives as well as Kerr’s local Iowa Kubota dealer, Kunau Implement. The program, which launched in March, provides financial support to FVC and donated Kubota equipment to U.S. military veterans pursuing a future in farming.
“We’re proud to help make a difference in the lives of farmer veterans in America,” said Todd Stucke, Kubota vice president of sales, marketing and product support. “Kubota’s partnership with FVC is a natural fit not only because of the organization’s emphasis on agriculture, but because of its national reach, which allows our 1,100 dealers across the country an opportunity to get involved with this cause.”
“At Farmer Veteran Coalition, we believe in supporting veterans returning to or beginning careers in the food and farming industry, and ‘Geared to Give’ is the perfect conduit for that work,” said Michael O’Gorman, founder and executive director of FVC. “It’s a great honor to share this day with Jason as he receives a much-needed Kubota tractor.”
Kerr is the owner of Kerr’s Berry Farm, a first-generation, family-owned and operated farm offering “pick-your-own” blueberries. He built the farm as a way to challenge himself with productive work that would allow him to see the fruits of his labor. “When I got the news, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.” said Kerr. “I’m really excited to work with Kubota and Kunau Implement, my local dealer, to get this equipment working out on the farm. I already have big plans for it!”
Kerr served more than five years in the U.S. Army, including a combat tour in Iraq, and was medically retired for injuries during service. After his return to civilian life, Kerr worked in the hotel business and for the State of Iowa as a veterans’ representative, all the while with an eye toward farming. His passion led to the purchase of a home on ten acres in Dewitt, Iowa, where he and his wife began farming blueberries, a more difficult crop for the area, where today he manages 1,200 flourishing plants.
“Jason is a prime example of the can-do spirit of our military veterans,” said Stucke. “Even in the middle of the corn fields of Iowa, there are true opportunities for specialty crops and farms like Jason’s that demand smaller equipment. He has taken on the challenging task of cultivating a blueberry farm in Iowa, and his hard work has earned him a successful business as a result. We are honored to have him as our second ‘Geared to Give’ recipient and to present him with his tractor today.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony was Todd Kunau, President of Kunau Implement, Kerr’s hometown authorized Kubota dealer. “Kunau Implement is a family-owned and operated, authorized Kubota dealership, proudly serving DeWitt and Preston, Iowa, since 1936,” said Kunau. “We couldn’t be happier to be part of this meaningful donation to such a worthy recipient. We look forward to supporting Jason’s continued success as he grows his farm and remains a dedicated entrepreneur in our community.”
Farmer veterans like Kerr who are FVC Fellowship recipients will be considered for donated Kubota equipment through the “Geared to Give” program. Kubota has selected its Standard L-Series compact tractors for this program, as their versatility and efficiency are ideal for meeting the varying needs of many small- and medium-sized farming operations and built here in the U.S.
Based in Davis, Calif., FVC is cultivating a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and developing viable employment opportunities and meaningful careers for veterans through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. FVC believes that food production offers purpose and opportunity, as well as physical and psychological benefits for all veterans. FVC works with veterans from all military branches, their families, employers and mentors to support those returning to or beginning careers in food and farming.