People don’t normally equate Marines with gentleness and peace, but it doesn’t take long at the Split Rail Farm to feel how its gentle, rolling hills lend a measure of tranquility to all who visit and work there. From the ewe who wants to be petted like a dog to the dog who sits patiently for cameras, it’s almost an intrusion to hear farm owner Jason Scramlin’s new Kubota fire up and get to work.
Hearing it hum was music to Scramlin’s ears, especially since it was donated as part of Kubota’s Geared to Give program, in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC).
The tractor, a Kubota L-series compact model, came complete with a front end loader; canopy from aftermarket supplier Firebird Products; and a Land Pride rotary cutter, a gift from Bronsink and Bos, the Kubota dealer in Mattawan which services Scramlin’s territory. It was all pulled together by the Kubota Tractor Corp., in cooperation with the Farmer-Veteran Coalition.
The mission of Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is mobilizing veterans to feed America. FVC works to develop a new generation of farmers and food leaders and expand viable employment and career opportunities through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. Through mentorship, peer support and career counseling, FVC supports veterans returning to or beginning careers in the food and farming industry.
Scramlin left the family farm in 1997 to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school. While he was stationed in 29 Palms he deployed to Iraq and twice to Okinawa, Japan, serving as a Fire Direction Controlman with India Battery 3rd Battalion 11th Marines Field Artillery Unit.
Scramlin reenlisted to accept an assignment to Marine Security Guard Duty, where he served 30 months overseas as an embassy guard at several U.S. Embassies. He was honorably discharged in 2005 and immediately began school at MSU to get his animal science degree.
“We could not think of a better representative of the (agriculture) community in Michigan than Jason,” said FVC general counsel Jason Foscolo. “While Jason is too modest to tell you, as a fellow Marine I can tell you that only the top two to three percent of Marines are qualified to have that (embassy) gig, so he has an impressive military resume behind him. Equally impressive is the way he’s so rapidly integrated into the agriculture community here in your state. He’s availed himself of just about every resource he can get into, and has put himself on the pathway to success. He’s a robust participant in Farm Bureau, a bedrock partner of ours, and we couldn’t have picked a better representative of the FVC.”
Scramlin’s participation in Farm Bureau goes deeper, though. He’s Michigan Farm Bureau’s regional representative for the West Region. He and wife Jordan own and manage a flock of 30 commercial ewes. They breed and lamb their ewes annually, in addition to producing their own hay. They currently sell their lamb products for meat and wool, and have their sights set on expanding the operation as demand continues to grow.
When he was passed the keys to his new tractor, Scramlin responded typically, with humor and humility.
“My mom and dad taught me how to work hard, and the Marine Corps taught me how to show up on time,” he said. “When I think about life in the Service and life to this point, it’s all about community and cultivation; cultivating relationships with animals, land, customers and community. Having spent time with the folks from Kubota the last two days shows how committed they are to community and farming. … Also, having the Farmer Veteran Coalition out to provide guidance and leadership, it all means so much. It’s quite overwhelming, and I’m truly, from the bottom of my heart, grateful.”
Scramlin’s hands-on approach is what made his application stand out. “As a third-generation farmer armed with a business plan, Jason is exactly the type of farmer veteran our organization helps to serve,” said Michael O ‘Gorman, executive director of FVC. “He is connected to his community and committed to growing his family-owned business into a thriving success, and we are proud to have him as our first ‘Geared to Give’ recipient in Michigan.”
Learn more about the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
Learn more about Bronsink and Bos,