Advocating for Farmer Veterans

veterans day boxIt is difficult to overstate the role that rural America plays in defending our country. While only 14 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural communities, nearly 45 percent of service men and women grew up in small and rural towns. Among them – Tammy Darbyshire, an account specialist at Frontier Farm Credit’s Emporia office.

Tammy and 29 fellow veterans traveled to Capitol Hill earlier this year to help Farm Credit advocate for programs that support those transitioning from war field to farm field.  Farm Credit partners with the Farmer Veteran Coalition to promote Homegrown by Heroes, a voluntary marketing label to help farmer veterans connect with consumers. Regionally, Frontier Farm Credit works with veterans organizations to provide education on the business side of farming and ranching.

When veterans return home, many are looking for a new purpose. As Tammy knows, they can find that in agriculture. Tammy married a third-generation Kansas farmer 23 years ago. Even though she wasn’t raised in ag, she hopes her sons will carry on the Darbyshire farming legacy.

“It takes a great appreciation to be in agriculture,” Tammy said. “You have love it to put in the hours, to do what they do to be in ag.”

For her part, Tammy draws on many of the skills she learned in the military to serve her customers at Frontier Farm Credit.

“The No. 1 thing I learned in the military was team work. You have a platoon and you have these people who always have your back,” she said. “Being a teammate at Frontier Farm Credit is so easy because the people are so easy to work with. And we respect each other, just like in the military.

“I think our customers can feel that each time they walk in the office. They know we’re going to them, too.”