Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing and Kubota spent part of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race day at Kansas Speedway honoring farmer veterans in a very special way.
With Chastain handing over the keys, Kubota presented specialized farm equipment to five United States military veterans who have returned to the land to farm in five states. Sunday’s presentation, part of Kubota’s “Geared to Give” program, was a highlight of pre-race activity at Kansas Speedway.
"The 'Geared to Give' program is all about giving back to our nation's veterans by empowering them with the equipment they need to achieve their dreams through farming," said Alex Woods, Kubota senior vice president and a veteran of the Army National Guard. "We believe veterans play an important role in strengthening our rural communities, and we are honored to support them by putting new equipment in their hands to level up their farms."
The partnership with Kubota is ideal for Chastain, an eighth-generation watermelon farmer who understands the hard work and dedication required to work the land.
“The Farmer Veteran Coalition is something that will make a real difference for these veterans coming back out of service, all serving post 9-11,” Chastain said. “A farmer’s arguably greatest asset next to land, in my opinion, is the equipment that they have. If you’re working dirt, this equipment is the biggest thing you need to do it. So this is going to make a real difference.”
Kubota is the primary sponsor of Trackhouse Racing Chevrolets in seven races this season. In addition to its involvement in Sunday’s veteran farmers presentation, Kubota makes a $10,000 donation to the Farmer Veteran Coalition for each top-10 finish Chastain scores in Kubota-sponsored Chevrolets.
“The $10,000 donation for the top-10 finish has become a personal plan of mine, Chastain said. “I want to make them write that check. I want to see the Farmer Veteran Coalition receive that money to do with it what they see fit. This isn’t a Trackhouse thing. This is a Kubota and Farmer Veteran Coalition thing we’re spotlighting.”
Chastian said he has a special appreciation for veterans who served following the terrorist attack on America Sept. 11, 2001.
“9-11 is the moment that I can remember where our country changed,” Chastain said. “I was a third-grader. I can remember our teacher turning on the TV and us watching it. This group of five signed up along with all the others who signed up at the time to go serve. It’s forever changed this country. They went and served and now they’re back. This is one of the easiest and smallest things we can do to say thank you.
"Every time I put on the Kubota fire suit and drive the No. 1 Kubota Chevrolet, I know I'm racing for a greater cause, and I'm reminded of the sacrifices the men and women in the armed forces make every day at home and abroad to protect our way of life. As a farmer, I know the hard work and dedication it takes to be successful in that profession, and being able to support veterans who return home to start careers in farming is a really meaningful aspect of this partnership with Kubota."
The 2023 "Geared to Give" program received nearly 700 applications through FVC's Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, and one recipient was selected in each of Kubota's five operating divisions across the U.S.
- Western Division: Chelsey Stimson served four years in the U.S. Navy, which included a deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and she is also a Gold Star wife and surviving spouse of SO1 Tyler Stimson, a Navy SEAL. Chelsey and her partner, Ryan, who is also a Navy veteran, own and operate RC Ranch in Bridger, Montana, a 40-acre farm where they breed and raise registered colored angora goats for mohair, as well as chickens. Kubota is awarding Chelsey an MX Series utility tractor with front loader and a Land Pride post hole digger and bale spear. Chelsey is supported by her local dealer, Billings Kubota in Billings, Montana.
- Southeast Division: Eric Pollack served more than 12 years in the U.S. Army, including two deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom before being medically retired. Eric and his wife, Kari, own and operate A Little Taste of Freedom Farm on 84 acres in Willisburg, Kentucky, where they raise cattle, hogs, poultry and grow produce. Kubota is awarding Eric an RTV-X1140 utility vehicle, and he is supported by his local dealer, Joe Hill's Powersports & Equipment in Bardstown, Kentucky.
- Midwest Division: Joshua Morris spent a career in the U.S. Army Infantry doing every job from rifleman to Ranger instructor to Infantry company commander, served in the 1st Ranger Battalion, 173rd Airborne, and did multiple deployments, including parachuting into Iraq in March of 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Joshua and his wife, Chiara, own and operate Cold Spring Farm, LLC, on 360 acres in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks. They raise registered Angus beef cattle, registered Boer goats, as well as produce high-quality grass hay and hardwood timber. Joshua runs a website to help other veterans and homesteaders at www.homesteadranger.com. Kubota is awarding Joshua a Disc Mower and Disc Mower Conditioner for his hay operation. Joshua is supported by his local dealer, Wayde's Equipment in Cuba, Missouri.
- Central Division: Hunter Uhland served four years in the U.S. Air Force, including two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Unified Protector. Hunter and his wife, Alexis, own and operate Bar UC Cattle Co., in Atwood, Kansas, a cow-calf operation where they specialize in 100% grass-fed and finished, non-GMO, pasture-raised rosé veal. Kubota is awarding Hunter an M60 Series utility tractor with loader and a Land Pride post hole digger and bale spear. Hunter is supported by his local dealer, Rusler Implement Co., in Rocky Ford, Colorado. At the time of his selection, Hunter and Bar UC Cattle Co., was based in Eads, Colorado, in Kubota's Central Division.
- Northern Division: Brian Chambers served eight years in the U.S. Air Force with a combined seven deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Brian and his wife, Kisha, own and operate Rambling Oaks Farm in Alstead, New Hampshire, a diversified produce farm where they specialize in growing microgreens and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Kubota is awarding Brian an L02 Series compact tractor with front loader and a Land Pride disc harrow, rotary tiller, grapple and pallet forks. Brian is supported by his local dealer, Pinnacleview Equipment, Inc., in Walpole, New Hampshire.
Each year one veteran from each of Kubota's five operating divisions is selected to receive new Kubota equipment through the "Geared to Give" program, and since it was established in 2015, Kubota has provided more than $900,000 to FVC in the form of organizational support, grants to veterans and 41 pieces of donated Kubota equipment to help them take their farming operations to the next level.