Farmer Veteran Coalition, in partnership with Kubota Tractor Corporation, announced the first awardee of the 2016 “Geared to Give” program Tuesday in a special ceremony at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.
Julie Hollars, a fifth-generation farmer and 20-year Navy veteran, received a donated Kubota L-Series compact tractor, becoming the first female awarded in the “Geared to Give” program’s short existence.
“Most girls want diamonds and nice cars,” said Hollars, who owns and operates Farbotnik Farm in Vallecito, Calif., where she produces a wide variety of fruit and nut trees. “All I want is a tractor!” According to Hollars, the new tractor will allow her to mechanize many processes her family has been doing by hand for more than 20 years.
Launched in March 2015 to provide financial support and donated Kubota equipment to U.S. Military veterans pursuing careers in farming, the “Geared to Give” program has now awarded four veterans with Kubota L-Series compact tractors.
“As a member of FVC’s fellowship program, we have watched Julie’s farm grow over the years and today we couldn’t be more proud of her efforts,” said Michael O’Gorman, executive director of Farmer Veteran Coalition. “Julie is exactly the type of farmer-veteran our organization helps to serve – she’s a fifth-generation farmer with a passion to grow her family-owned business into a thriving success and just needs a little help to do so. We are honored that Julie is our first female ‘Geared to Give’ recipient.”
In addition to the tractor, Hollars received an E60 tiller courtesy of Stockton, Calif.-based Big Valley Tractor and their supplier Gearmore. The L-Series tractor was also equipped with a Kubota-orange canopy from Firebird Products, a Kubota supplier for aftermarket accessories.
In order to be eligible for the “Geared to Give” program, FVC members must first apply to the Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund, which provides up to $5,000 to each veteran in the early stages of their farming endeavor. Since 2011, the Fellowship Fund has provided more than $800,000 to 150 fellows in more than 35 states.
For more information about the “Geared to Give” program, please visit www.kubotacares.com. For more information about joining Farmer Veteran Coalition and applying to the Fellowship Fund, please visit www.farmvetco.org/.