Halifax Co., VA - There's been a big push to get veterans back to work when they get home from duty. A nationwide group hopes that farming may be an avenue to accomplish that goal.A Halifax County farm has become the first in the state to receive a special certification reserved for farms run by military veterans.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition has selected Hudson Heritage Farms to be part of their Homegrown by Heroes Program.
For Denise and David Hudson, starting a farm after years in the military was a natural transition.
"Military members are used to working hard, working long hours for not a lot of pay, and that pretty much describes the life of a farmer!" David Hudson said.
Before moving to Halifax County, the Hudsons both served in the Air Force and National Guard. David just retired in 2012 with 38 years of service. Now, he and his wife spend many of their days with four-legged friends around the farm.
The couple sells meat and other products, but they've also hosted butchery workshops, farm-to-table events, and now cooking classes in their new on-site kitchen.
"All of our classes have sold out pretty quickly when we put them up online," Denise said.
Now, the Veteran Farmers Coalition recognized and rewarded their on-going commitment to the industry through the Homegrown by Heroes Program.
"We've always marketed out products as veteran owned and operated, so it is just another recognition of our farming endeavors, " said Denise.
While the coalition is popular in the West, very few farms on the East Coast have been recognized.
The Hudsons hope to encourage other veterans in the state to take up farming.
"We can also work with other farmers and other veterans who may be coming off active duty now. It's a natural segue for us to be involved with a veteran program like this, " Denise said.
The Hudsons are planning to hold a variety of workshops throughout the fall, from food preservation to bread making.
For any cheese lovers out there, their next class - a cheese making workshop - will be held on October 18.
To reach the farm, located in South Boston, call 434-753-9327.