Northern New Jersey Farmer Veteran Awarded First Donated Kubota Tractor in Geared to Give Program
Kubota Tractor Corporation today announced its first recipient of a donated tractor in its “Geared To Give” program. Matt Soldano of Southtown Farms in Lafayette Township, N.J., was recognized in a special ceremony today as the first farmer veteran to receive a donated Kubota L-Series compact tractor through the program, which launched in March in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). The program provides financial support and donated Kubota equipment to U.S. military veterans pursuing a future in farming.
“Through our partnership with FVC, we can help make a difference nationally, while remaining close to the local communities where our valued customers and dealers live and work,” said Mr. Masato Yoshikawa, President & CEO of Kubota Tractor Corporation.
The company chose to support FVC in part because of its national reach, but also noted the importance of the organization’s focus on agriculture. “Kubota created this program because we share a belief in the future of farming and the future of America’s veterans – that’s what ‘Geared to Give’ is all about,” said Todd Stucke, Kubota vice president of sales, marketing and product support. “We’re excited to be here today with Matt and his family to mark the first program donation of a Kubota L-Series tractor, proudly built here in the U.S.”
Soldano is the owner of Southtown Farms, a first-generation, family-owned and operated farm specializing in pastured poultry and pork products. He has built his business based on the belief in and practice of sustainable agriculture practices to offer the healthiest and most local products available. “Our plan before the tractor was maintenance on what we have, now we can build something bigger and better to move forward with our farm,” said Saldano. “I’m so grateful for this program – I could never have imagined this happening to me.”
Soldano served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including a combat tour in Iraq. Upon his return, he and his wife moved to a small farm in Mahwah, N.J., where they began their farming operation with six chickens. Today, Southtown Farms owns, leases, or manages approximately 60 acres of land throughout northern New Jersey.
“Matt is a member of FVC’s fellowship program and is exactly the type of farmer veteran our organization helps to serve. He is a first-generation farmer with a passion to grow his family-owned business into a thriving success,” said Michael O’Gorman, executive director of FVC. “He started with six chickens and a business plan, and now he and his family farm 60 acres of land. We are proud to have him as our first ‘Geared to Give’ recipient and to present him with this honor today.”
“Tri-State is celebrating 16 years as an authorized Kubota dealer in Newton,” said Tim Voss, Jr., Dealer Principal at Tri-State Rentals, Inc. “It’s humbling to be part of this important tractor delivery because we know that it will help to further grow Southtown Farms and enable Matt and his family to continue successfully farming in our community.”
Farmer veterans like Soldano can apply to the FVC Fellowship Fund in order to be considered for donated Kubota equipment through the “Geared to Give” program. Kubota has selected its Standard L-Series compact tractors for this program, as their versatility and efficiency are ideal for meeting the varying needs of many small- and medium-sized farming operations.
Based in Davis, Calif., FVC is cultivating a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and developing viable employment opportunities and meaningful careers for veterans through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. FVC believes that food production offers purpose and opportunity, as well as physical and psychological benefits for all veterans. FVC works with veterans from all military branches, their families, employers and mentors to support those returning to or beginning careers in food and farming.
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