Farmer Veteran Coalition Press Release
DAVIS, CA (January 18, 2017) – Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC), a national nonprofit organization that assists military veterans embarking on careers in agriculture, announced today the hiring of two top executives to the leadership team. Lanon Baccam joins FVC as Deputy Director based in Washington, D.C., while Diane Vanderpot will serve as Chief Operating Officer out of the Davis, California office.
“This level of executive leadership will fortify the impact our movement is having on the health of our veterans, our agricultural workforce and our rural communities,” said FVC Founder and Director Michael O’Gorman. “Having a presence on the East Coast will allow us to advocate face-to-face with our elected officials and our partners throughout the federal government.”
Baccam, an Army and Iowa National Guard veteran who deployed to Afghanistan in 2004-2005, comes to FVC from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) where he served as Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, and as USDA’s Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison, a position created by the 2014 Farm Bill.
Vanderpot, who most recently served as Undersecretary of Veterans Homes for the California Department of Veterans Affairs, brings a wealth of strategic and management experience to FVC after a 31-year career in the Army in which she rose to the rank of colonel.
As Military Liaison Baccam was responsible for connecting service members and veterans with opportunities in agriculture by providing information about programs and services available to them through USDA, and advocating for veterans’ interests within the Department, with partners across the federal government, and the stakeholders community. Prior to this assignment, Baccam served in various other roles since joining the USDA in 2011, to include special assistant in the Foreign Agriculture Service, executive assistant to the Secretary, and director of scheduling and advance for the Secretary.
In his role as Deputy Director, Baccam will interface with the many government agencies that are instrumental to veterans transitioning into agriculture: USDA, Small Business Administration, Veterans Affairs, and Departments of Labor and Defense. He will also assist in the expansion of FVC’s state chapters and the promotion of the Homegrown By Heroes label.
“Our veterans served this country honorably by protecting it and they continue to serve this country by providing for it,” said Baccam. “Through farming and ranching our veterans get a new sense of duty and purpose by helping to feed their family, friends, neighbors, and the world. Farmer Veteran Coalition is the key leader in this movement and I look forward to accelerating our ability to help many more thousands of veterans who want to get into agriculture.”
Previous to her role at California Department of Veterans Affairs, Vanderpot held a variety of positions to include senior policy officer for arms control at the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense; professor at the U.S. Army War College; intelligence director for the Multi-National Force-Iraq Force Strategic Engagement Cell; intelligence director for the Combined/Joint Task Force-Kuwait at Camp Doha.
As Chief Operating Officer, Vanderpot will oversee a staff of 15 and the delivery of services to FVC’s 8,000 veteran members. Programs she will direct include the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, the Homegrown By Heroes label, an employment and internship program, an annual stakeholders conference and an annual conference for women farmer veterans. Additionally, she will oversee an upgrade to FVC’s membership benefits program, which will include a membership card, discounts and fee-waivers from agricultural suppliers and service providers.
“FVC provides an invaluable service to our veterans pursuing careers in agriculture,” Vanderpot said. “I am excited to join the team and look forward to sowing strong bonds between veterans and farmers.”
ABOUT FARMER VETERAN COALITION
Farmer Veteran Coalition is a national nonprofit organization focused on cultivating a new generation of farmers and food leaders by developing viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. Farmer Veteran Coalition’s network of more than 8,000 veterans from all 50 states and U.S. Territories are served by mentors in the areas of agricultural production, law, business planning and career counseling, a small grant program, and the nationally recognized Homegrown By Heroes label for veteran-grown products. Learn more at https://farmvetco.org.