In observance of Veterans Day, Kubota Tractor Corporation, Grapevine, Texas. announced all five of its 2021 “Geared to Give” farmer veteran tractor recipients in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition from Buck Commander’s E3 Ranch in Fort Scott, Kansas, on Nov. 11.
While all five program recipients are being honored and recognized for their past United States military service and their continued service to their communities through farming, currently serving North Dakota Army National Guard 1st Lt. Ryan was honored in a special ceremony hosted by Buck Commander’s Adam LaRoche, a former Major League Baseball player and owner of the E3Ranch and Foundation.
“We are proud to partner with Kubota in serving our veterans who serve our country and fight to protect the freedoms that we enjoy every day,” said LaRoche, whose E3 Foundation has been giving back to veterans since it was established in 2017.
“Our life’s work is to help our customers achieve their dreams for their land, businesses, and loved ones with the durable and reliable equipment Kubota makes,” said Alex Woods, Kubota senior vice president of sales operations, supply chain and parts and a veteran of the Army National Guard. “Nothing makes me prouder than gifting Kubota large utility tractors, hay tools, and other Ag equipment to veterans who have the drive and determination to turn their farming dreams into reality—it is truly the American dream and one that we are honored to support alongside FVC. And this year, with the help of the Buck Commander team, Ryan is now empowered to tend to his land and advance his farming career.”
The Geared to Give program has provided equipment and grants to 41 farmer veterans through FVC’s Fellowship Fund since 2015, matching unique veterans’ needs with donated resources to help further their agriculture careers. The 2021 program received hundreds of applications from worthy veterans; in the end, one recipient was selected by and for each of Kubota’s operating divisions across the U.S. Other recipients include:
• Central Division: Master Sgt. Ben Henbest, who still serves in the U.S. Army Reserve, is from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and owns and operates Henbest Farms, where he raises Angus cattle and will put his new versatile MX series tractor to use to manage his growing cattle operation. His servicing dealer is Springdale Tractor Co., in Springdale, Arkansas.
• Northern Division: U.S. Army veteran Eric Grandon of Ovapa, West Virginia, is the owner of Sugar Bottom Farm, a growing full-service honeybee and honey production company. Grandon was gifted a durable Kubota Sidekick utility vehicle to help him move his beehives with speed and ease around his hilly farm, while dealing with mobility issues. His ervicing dealer is State Equipment, Inc., in Cross Lanes, West Virginia.
• Southeast Division: U.S. Marine Corps veteran Tracy Robinson, from Blakely, Georgia, owns a 500-acre farm where he grows peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat, and up until recently managed on his own by borrowing equipment from a friend. He recently received the keys to a free one-year lease of Kubota’s highest horsepower M8 series workhorse tractor. His servicing dealer is Southern Tractor & Outdoors in Leesburg, Georgia.
• Midwest Division: 1st Lt. Ryan Blumhagen, who has served in the North Dakota Army National Guard for more than 10 years, owns and operates Ryan and McKenzie Blumhagen Farm in Drake, North Dakota. On their 2,100-acre farm, Ryan and McKenzie grow wheat, field peas, canola, soybeans and flax, and will put their new MX series tractor to use on a range of applications for field work, seed handling, moving equipment and supplies, and snow removal among many other tasks. Blumhagen’s servicing dealer is Acme Tools in Minot, North Dakota.
• Western Division: U.S. Army veteran Colleen Hudspeth from Fruitland, Washington, is the co-owner of Battle Cross Farm where she will put her M5660SU deluxe feature-packed utility tractor to use as her family raises cattle, poultry and swine. Her servicing dealer is La Duke & Fogle Equipment in Colville, Washington.