Kubota Presents Lithia Veteran and Farmer With Tractor Through Geared to Give Program
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Russell Guzzetta of Country Song Farm in Lithia was recently chosen from more than 400 applicants nationwide to receive a donated Kubota L Series compact tractor.
The giveaway was part of Kubota’s Geared to Give program. This program has been hosting a giveaway every year since 2015. Since then, Kubota has awarded 16 tractors to veterans around the country and has donated 21 tractors to American veterans upon the conclusion of the 2019 program.
A Strong Business Plan
Kubota director and division manager John Sargeant said Guzzetta’s strong business plan, vision for growing his family’s business, and honorable service are what distinguished him from the other applicants.
Sargeant adds, “Russell and his team are doing so much of their daily activities manually, his team would benefit greatly from the addition of a Kubota L2501 tractor and loader with a Land Pride tiller within their growing operation.”
Guzzetta is the first farmer veteran from Florida selected to receive a Kubota tractor through the Geared to Give program. Kubota awards five tractors each year through the program, with one tractor awarded within each of the five divisional offices. Guzzetta is this year’s recipient for the Southeastern Division, which encompasses 11 states.
A Total Surprise
Guzzetta enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1988, with primary military occupational specialty as an infantry anti-tank assaultman. He also held a secondary MOS as a Marine Corps Security Force Guard. He served in combat on Battleship USS Wisconsin during the Gulf War, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I also held a secondary MOS as a Marine Corps Security Force Guard. He finished up his enlistment at The Basic School in Quantico, Va., as an enlisted instructor and was Honorably Discharged in late 1991 to pursue college where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology.
“This was all a total surprise,” Guzzetta exclaims when asked about being selected for the award.
“The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund is a small program that provides direct assistance to veterans who are in their beginning years of farming or ranching. We filled out the application, answered the essay questions and submitted our full business plan, all required by the fund application. … The application also had a question that asked if a tractor would help our operation. I checked it knowing it would be a game changer if we were awarded a tractor.”
When the Farmer Veteran Coalition and Kubota representatives called Guzzetta, Kubota had only one question remaining before they could make the final decision: What are you going to do with a brand new Kubota tractor?
Guzzetta has owned and operated his farm Country Song Farm for two years, and they have been growing and selling cut flowers since the summer of 2018. He learned about the Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund after reading the stories of all the veterans from their website. He thought that it was inspiring to see so many other farmer veterans making a difference in their own lives as well as others that they come in contact with.
Guzzetta says the new director will definitely ease a lot of the hard labor necessary for composting, moving dirt, and soil building. Maybe most importantly, the tractor will make expansion a reality for the young family.
Despite the recognition,Guzzetta remains humble.
“It shows there are people out there willing to take a chance on you because they see something in you,” he says. “It is quite moving when someone believes in you enough to help you out along the way.”