Anchor Meadow Farm   |   Nebraska   |   Navy

A beekeeper for 5 years going strong, Matt Hendl has 20 hives and is currently working with the Great Plains Master Beekeeping Program (GPMB) and Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) on the practice of keeping bees in the Midwest.  He’s also involved with a training program with the University of Nebraska, helping new beekeepers in the area.

“A beekeeper is more than just a keeper of bees,” shares the Navy veteran. “They are responsible for the proper care and success/failure of those hives.  To be a steward of bees, you need to be aware if your actions are harming or helping your bees.  We strive to do what is best for our bees to ensure survivability and production.”

Matt served 20 years in the United States Navy Submarine Service, advancing to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer.  He completed 15 deployments, multiple Missions Vital to National Security, and eventually became the Rate Lead for Sonar Technicians (Submarines) before retiring in October of 2016.

In 2018 he established Anchor Meadow Farm with the goal of providing a superior and healthy product to his customers in a sustainable way.  Officially certified Homegrown By Heroes in June 2019, they use the HBH label on their spread of offerings – honey, eggs, KuneKune Pork and beeswax products.

When it comes to beekeeping, Matt recognizes that your head can’t be clouded when working with the bees. They will let you know really quickly if you are stressed.  In this way, beekeeping has been an enormous help.

“Beekeeping requires maintaining stressors and remaining tranquil to keep the bees calm, providing the avenues for veterans to help deal with the various disabilities they acquired through military service.  Farmer veterans are also problem-solvers and know how to react during challenges.  As a farmer, you become a provider.  The same basics that every veteran has obtained during their service in the military – but, providing a product for your community instead of service to the Nation.  It’s a natural next path of service for veterans.”

Looking to the future, Matt’s goals are to continue to expand and provide his community with nutrient dense products, and help any veteran beginning farmer start their dream. He aspires to be awarded a Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund grant, and continues to grow his small farm with the mindset that veterans never give up.

“We know that the Farmer Veteran Coalition always has every veteran’s interest at heart. We appreciate everything that FVC does for new and experienced Veteran Farmers. I am honored enough to be a part of its team! Farming is a calm and structured job that every veteran yearns for after separating from Active Duty.”