The National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association

The National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association was founded in August of 2004 in Washington, D.C as the National Association of Latino/Hispanic Farmers & Ranchers. This alliance of Latino advocacy groups evolved from a long soul searching ordeal & after working with many farmer and farm worker advocacy groups for several years.

The MISSION of the organization is to engage and empower Latino farmer advocacy groups throughout the United States and beyond to protect and promote sustainable farm policy issues for quality and safe food systems for the future.

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NLFRTA/NASS Hispanic Heritage Event 2014

"Foremost, I want to thank the NASS staff for making time from their busy schedule to help us with this celebration as well as those of you who were able to support our Hispanic Heritage Ag Census Celebration event.

As we've stated before, this event is of special significance to us as it means that we are supporting ourselves in making sure that we contribute to a good Agriculture Census count.

We regret that we were not able to have more of the US Department of Agriculture Memorandum of Understanding signatories so that we could get a briefing of their plans in implementing their MOU.

We will be traveling to Dallas, Texas in support of the Latinos in Agriculture Leadership Conference and I have requested that the NASS staff provide me with copies of our newsletters and the Ag Census materials for presentation and dissemination there. Thanks again to all who are in attendance."

Visit our NLFRTA/NASS Hispanic Heritage Event 2014 photo gallery by clicking the link below

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Attend Rural Coalition 2014 Winter Forum and Networking Dinner

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 18:00 to Friday, December 5, 2014 - 23:00
American University- SIS Building

We seek your attendance for our upcoming gathering of our members and partners December 3-5, 2014 at our Winter Forum. It has become something of a tradition for Rural Coalition members, supporters, allies, federal agency colleagues and friends to meet every year during the Winter Forum, which serves as our “Knowledge Sharing Institute.”

PLEASE JOIN US On behalf of our Rural Coalition Board of Directors, we look forward to your presence. We are stronger together, and we hope you will join us and support and participate in this important event.

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USDA Seeks Input on New Beef Promotion Order

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking input from the public to guide its development of a new industry-funded promotion, research and information order (also known as a "checkoff program") for beef and beef products. The new order would be in addition to the existing beef checkoff program, providing American beef producers with more resources for the marketing of their products and research to help strengthen the country's beef industry.

"Beef industry representatives agree that this important program needs more resources. USDA is stepping up at a critical juncture to help achieve the industry's goal," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "With this action we can boost research investments, increase beef exports, and encourage folks here at home to support American beef producers."

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Dorathy & Phillip discuss the discriminatory lending practices

Dorathy & Phillip discuss the discriminatory lending practices that have contributed to a tremendous loss of Black-owned farmland. Their non-profit organization, Operation Spring Plant, promotes self-help community economic development programs and technical assistance and training for minority and limited resource farmers.

Farm Aid was started by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 to keep family farmers on the land and has worked since then to make sure everyone has access to good food from family farmers. Dave Matthews joined Farm Aid's board of directors in 2001.

From the NLFRTA President's Desk

NLFRTA president, Rudy Arredondo, will be traveling to Albemarle, North Carolina this weekend and next week to work with the Rural Coalition and the National Hmong American Farmers, based in Fresno and represented by NLFRTA in Washington, DC to provide support and technical assistance to the Hmong poultry farmers who will be gathering there from all over the country to discuss issues that have adversely affected their operations.

"I've been working with the Asian and Hmong farmers since 1995 when I worked at USDA as president of the Hispanic Organizations Leadership Alliance (HOLA), an organization working to ensure accountability by USDA Hispanic employees to the Hispanic constituency utilizing USDA programs," recounts Arredondo.

"My two colleagues I worked closely with were former Asian Pacific Americans in Agriculture (APANA), the USDA Asian employee association president Dr. Jeremy Wu and NRCS representative Dr. Mon Yee. Another important ally in that community was Lawrence Lucas who headed the Minority Coalition that represented the African American USDA employees," stated Arredondo.

"This trip is tremendously important at it attempts to try to deal with injustices visited on poultry growers overall, not just Hmong growers. NLFRTA has advocated for fair and just treatment and fair contracts with integrators such as Cargill, Tyson, Smithfield, among others and we challenged what we considered "contracts of adhesion". These contracts are extremely one-sided in favor of the integrators who have no investment on the farm, but farmers must bring their farms up to the specifications of the integrator to be considered qualified for a contract," Arredondo explains.

"One of the major problems in that a farmer must indebt him or herself for up to $250,000 via a conventional or most often a USDA guaranteed loan to bring the farm up to the integrators requirements," continues Arredondo. "With the Hmong and some of the Latino farmers, we have had language and cultural issues whereby the process for both the integrator and loan requirements are not adequately explained that has caused the farmers to eventually have to declare bankruptcy and lose their investment and their farms. That is unfortunately a too common occurrence."

"We also know that at times the real estate, the banks have taken advantage of these immigrant farmers by selling them foreclosed farms at over-inflated prices that the contract provided to the farmer by the integrator is not enough of a cashflow to repay the mortgage," Arredondo further states. "So part of our trip this time is to attempt to come up with some solutions to these problems to give the poultry farmers some feedback and help them to come up with some viable solutions to their problems, we hope," concludes Arredondo.

Urgent Action Needed

Sign on Letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack Request to Reject the Proposal by the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group and to Adopt the Proposal Recommended Herein

Please join the NLFRTA, and R-Calf and others in signing the the letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack Request to Reject the Proposal by the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group and to Adopt the Proposal Recommended Herein...

We plan to mail the letter to Secretary Vilsack on September 8 so please respond by e-mail on or before September 7 if your organizatio would like to sign onto the letter. Please contact either Fred Stokes at 601-527-2459 or Bill Bullard at 406-670-8157

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Tell the EPA: Protect farmworkers from toxic pesticides

It’s staggering: More than 1 billion pounds of dangerous pesticides are used in the production of agricultural crops in the U.S. annually,1 poisoning up to 20,000 farmworkers each year.2

Right now the Environmental Protection Agency is deciding whether to update rules that protect farmworkers from harmful pesticide exposure -- and a critical comment period closes in less than a week.

We know that big corporate agribusiness will be piling on the pressure from the other side. We need to fight back and provide a strong showing of grassroots support for protecting farmworkers from dangerous pesticides.

Tell the EPA: Protect farmworkers from cancer-causing pesticides. Submit a public comment now.

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Sign Stop Fast Track Sign-on Letter to Senator Wyden‏

Please join the NLFRTA, Rural Coalition, AFL-CIO, the Communications Workers of America, Public Citizen, Sierra Club and others in signing the the letter to Senator Wyden pasted below, which reiterates opposition to Fast Track and calls for its replacement with a new system for negotiating and implementing trade agreements that provides for real congressional and public accountability.

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Sign On Letter to USDA Support Funding Increase for 2501 Outreach & Advocacy‏‏

Dear Friends and allies of the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association Please sign up your organizationon to support this important letter generated by the Rural Coalition leadership for action on the Hill regarding critical funding by USDA.


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Michigan Hispanic Growers’ Co-op Helps Improve Viability of Small Farmers

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

Editor’s note: Thomas is Extension educator and innovation counselor at the Michigan State University Product Center, Michigan Cooperative Development Program. This is one in a series of blogs USDA is posting to help celebrate Cooperative Month in October.

Farmers on the Move (FOTM) is a cooperative of Hispanic farmers, incorporated in June 2009, which is working to create a quality retail brand of fresh blueberries and vegetables for the Michigan and Midwest markets. Guiding this effort is Filiberto Villa Gomez, co-op board president, who has consistently striven to enhance member knowledge of both growing and marketing practices.

Together, the farmers process, package, deliver and share marketing expenses. The co-op sells to retail and wholesale markets, as well as through farmers markets. FOTM currently has 14 members who farm from 5 to 50 acres. Sales this year will be in the low-to-mid six-figures. The 2012 Michigan Ag Census listed 855 Hispanic farmers in the state, who are farming 115,087 acres.

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NYT Farmer Headline Doesn’t Anger Latino Farmers

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

I was amused last week with the reaction to a headline on a New York Times article about how many Latino farmers have transitioned from farm work to farm ownership. The headline read “Latinos Move Up, From Picking Crops to Running the Farm (The NYT has since changed the wording).”

There was an instant negative reaction online.

Twitter was ablaze with comments: “this is kind of racist.” “because we ALL start picking crops right? SMH. Another racist headline to add to the collection.” “Oh, NYT that is really awful.”

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Latinos Move Up, From Picking Crops to Running the Farm

WATSONVILLE, Calif. — When he was 15, an immigration raid at a Japanese flower nursery turned Arturo Flores’s life around.

The owners needed a new group of workers to replace the ones removed by immigration officials, and Mr. Flores landed a job cutting flowers. He slowly worked his way up to packaging and delivering them. In the mid-1980s he got a call from two businessmen looking to start their own cut-flower business. They asked him to manage deliveries and distribution. Today Mr. Flores, 50, is the president of Central California Flower Growers in Watsonville, a distributor in Santa Cruz County that sells more than 100 varieties of flowers and other plants

Farming businesses in the United States are still dominated by whites, but Mr. Flores (whose last name means “flowers” in English) is one of a growing number of Latinos who own or operate farms in the country. While the overall number of farms in the United States decreased by 4 percent from 2007 to 2012, during the same period the number of farms run by Hispanics increased by 21 percent to 67,000 from 55,570, according to data released in May from the government’s 2012 census of agriculture. The numbers signaled a small but consistent pattern of growth in agribusiness among Latinos, many of whom have gone from working in the fields to sitting in the head offices.

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Past Happenings

National Hmong American Farmers: Letter to Governor Brown of California re: Support AB 2325

Dear Governor Brown:

I am writing to strongly support the creation of an interpreters program in the Medi-Cal, and the legislation to do that--AB 2325. I wish to express my deepest concern with language access in our state, and to ensure that your office understands the realities faced by Limited English Proficient patients in our current healthcare delivery system.

The Department of Health Care Services wrote in a July 2 letter opposing the effort to create an interpreters program in Medi-Cal that interpreter services are already provided by Managed Care Plans, and by healthcare providers through language line services, contracts with interpreters, employing interpreters and bilingual staff. The need of California’s LEP communities

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White House Rural Council Announces $10 Billion Private Investment Fund to Projects in Rural America


WASHINGTON, July 24, 2014 - The White House Rural Council today announced the creation of the new U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund through which private entities can invest in job-creating rural infrastructure projects across the country. An initial $10 billion has been committed to the fund with greater investment expected to follow. Target investments will include hospitals, schools and other educational facilities, rural water and wastewater systems, energy projects, broadband expansion, local and regional food systems, and other rural infrastructure.

CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving rural America and a member of the Farm Credit System, is the fund's anchor investor, committing $10 billion to get the fund off the ground. Capitol Peak Asset Management will manage the new

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Letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding California Drought


Dear Secretary Vilsack:

As the impact of the severe drought in California widens, we are grateful to you to call attention and action to the crisis by traveling to Fresno tomorrow.

We continue working with National Hmong American Farmers, Inc. (NHAF) to support their emergency efforts to reach and assist the Hmong and other diverse producers in the region who face this sudden and growing loss of their crops and their livelihoods. 

Our Board member, Chukou Thao of NHAF, has already been working with state and local USDA officials and other agencies on a solution oriented approach to the emergency.  We have attached the fact sheet assembled from a recent

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Legislative News

In Agriculture news, Farm Aid 2014 took place in Raleigh, NC from September 11-14, 2014. The Rural Coalition's Board Member Dorothy Barker and her husband, Phillip Barker, were recognized for their farming, activism and organization, Operation Spring Plant, and spoke on the main stage on September 13, 2014. In addition, they were profiled in a video shown on the main stage:

Farmer Profiles: Dorathy & Phillip Barker

USDA announces that it is providing nearly $3 million in grants to 28 organizations in 12 states to strengthen rural business and promote economic development. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden shared, "These investments are part of the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to help rural and Tribal communities that have the greatest need for assistance. USDA is targeting capital and technical assistance to small businesses and development organizations to help stimulate more business activity in areas that are struggling economically. This will help revitalize these small, remote rural communities and create much-needed jobs for local residents." For more information, visit

Congress will attempt again this week to pass a continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government, including the Department of Agriculture, running beyond the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. A continuing resolution is "legislation in the form of a joint resolution enacted by Congress, when the new fiscal year is about to begin or has begun, to provide budget authority for Federal agencies and programs to continue in operation until the regular appropriations acts are enacted." The legislation includes funding for the ‘‘Department of Agriculture—Domestic Food Programs—Food and Nutrition Service—Commodity Assistance Program’’ at a rate for operations of $275,701,000, of which $208,682,000 shall be for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, the House Committee on Agriculture will convene "to review the implementation of Section 4022 of the Agricultural Act of 2014: Pilot projects to reduce dependency and increase work requirements and work effort under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program." Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – 10:00 a.m. 1300 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. Full Committee – Public Hearing Watch the webcast

On Thursday, September 18, 2014, the Organic Trade Association opens a two-day conference on “All Things Organic” at the Baltimore Convention Center. The conference is part of the four-day National Products Expo East Show which opens Sept. 17 and ends Sept. 20.

Senate Floor Schedule for
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Senate stands adjourned until 10:00am on Tuesday, September 16, 2014.

Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business until 12:30pm. The Senate will recess from 12:30 until 2:15pm to allow for the weekly caucus meetings.

At 2:15pm, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and proceed to 2 roll call votes on confirmation of the Baron and Burns nominations.

2:15pm—Up to 2 roll call votes; 7 voice votes

Confirmation of Executive Calendar #1003, Jeffery Martin Baran, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the remainder of the term expiring June 30, 2015 (roll call)

Confirmation of Executive Calendar #1004, Stephen G. Burns, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the term of five years expiring June 30, 2019 (roll call)

Confirmation of Executive Calendar #594 Linda A. Schwartz, of Connecticut, to be an Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Policy and Planning) (voice vote)

Confirmation of Executive Calendar #546 Matthew T. Harrington, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Lesotho (voice vote)

Confirmation of Executive Calendar #958 Todd D. Robinson, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Guatemala (voice vote)

Confirmation of Executive Calendar #960 Jane D. Hartley, of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the French Republic (voice vote)

Confirmation of Executive Calendar #963 Jane D. Hartley, of New York, to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Principality of Monaco (voice vote)

Confirmation of Executive Calendar #784 Nina Hachigian, of California, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (voice vote)

Confirmation of Executive Calendar #870 Gordon O. Tanner, of Alabama, to be General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force (voice vote)

House Floor Schedule for
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

On Thursday, the House will convene at 9:00 a.m. and recess immediately. The House will reconvene at approximately 9:45 a.m. for the purpose of receiving, in a joint meeting with the Senate, the Honorable Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine. The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.R. 3593 - The VA Construction Assistance Act of 2014, as amended(Sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

2) H.R. 5404 - Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

3) H.R. 4276 - Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Improvement Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

4) S. 2258 - Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2014(Sponsored by Sen. Mark Begich / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

5) H.R. 24 - Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Paul Broun / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

6) H.R. 5169 - Senior Executive Service Accountability Act, as amended(Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

7) H.R.5170 - Federal Records Accountability Act of 2014, as amended(Sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

8) H.R. 5418 - To prohibit officers and employees of the Internal Revenue Service from using personal email accounts to conduct official business(Sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany / Ways and Means Committee)

9) H.R. 5419 - To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a right to an administrative appeal relating to adverse determinations of tax-exempt status of certain organizations (Sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany / Ways and Means Committee)

10) H.R. 5420 - To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit the release of information regarding the status of certain investigations (Sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany / Ways and Means Committee)

11) H.R. 3043 - Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2013 (Sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes / Ways and Means Committee)

12) H.R. 495 - Free File Program Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)

13) H.R. 4137 - Preserving Welfare for Needs Not Weed Act (Sponsored by Rep. Dave Reichert / Ways and Means Committee)

14) H.R. 4994 - Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp / Ways and Means Committee)

15) H.R. ___ - To amend title 49, United States Code, to provide for limitations on the fees charged to passengers of air carriers, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson / Homeland Security Committee)

H.J. Res. 124 - Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015 (Subject to a Rule)(Sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers / Appropriations Committee)

H.R. ___ - American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Lee Terry / Natural Resources Committee / Energy and Commerce Committee) H.R. ___ - Jobs for America Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp / Ways and Means Committee)


USDA announces new beef promotion order, seeks input

November 7, 2014 | Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who has expressed his frustration with a working group’s inability to come up with a consensus to improve the beef checkoff, announced today that USDA is proposing a new checkoff program for beef and beef products and that he is seeking input from the public to guide its development. ...

House to return for organizational conferences

November 7, 2014 | The House of Representatives will return to Washington on Wednesday through Friday, but will focus on "organizational conferences," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a note to Republican offices on Thursday. ...

Child Labor Coalition praises Phillip Morris tobacco purchase decision

November 7, 2014 | The Child Labor Coalition, a 34-member group that fights exploitative child labor, today applauded Philip Morris International's announcement that it will no longer purchase tobacco from individual farmers but through third-party leaf supply companies that will require growers to abide by Philip Morris’s child labor policy, which prohibits hazardous tobacco work for workers under 18. ...

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HEADLINES November 7, 2014


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NLFRTA In The News

Beef Checkoff battle drags on and on

The three-year attempt to make recommendations to Congress to revamp the Beef Checkoff program may be in trouble.

Recently, the 11 groups that make up the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group apparently came up with a set of recommendations some members view as a last attempt at consensus.

R-CALF USA, which is not a member of the group, issued a warning that other farm groups plan to agree by next Friday to a proposal it considers “smoke and mirrors,” while some participants in the group said no agreement would be announced until this fall or winter, if ever.

In addition, Chandler Keys, a former National Cattlemen’s Beef Association vice president who now represents JBS, the Brazilian-based meat company and other clients, wrote on July 29 that there are so many problems associated with the national checkoff that producers should abandon it in favor of state checkoffs. See link.

The working group was established in response to a proposal to raise the beef checkoff, from $1 per head each and every time an animal is sold to $2 per head, and complaints that the checkoff was benefiting the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which has been close to the management of the checkoff dollars.

The group is supposed to make recommendations to Congress, since congressional action is the only way to make major changes to the program under the 1985 law that established it as a way for producers to engage in research and promotion efforts. Congressional farm leaders have told the group that it would be impossible to make changes without a broad consensus.



Rudy Arredando

Rudy Arredondo of the National Latin Farmers & Ranchers Association said his group is against the proposal.

“The obvious lack of imbalance in this process excludes the small and independent beef producers and is terribly unfair,” Arredondo said. ”We are opposed and need a robust representation in any and all deliberations impacting on this industry.”

Meanwhile, at a conference in Denver last week, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board released a study it commissioned from Harry Kaiser of Cornell University. The study concluded each dollar invested in the Beef Checkoff Program between 2006 and 2013 returned about $11.20 in investment to the beef industry.

The decline in the number of beef cattle has reduced the checkoff income, and during its meeting, the Beef Board unanimously approved a $40.2 million budget for fiscal year 2015, down 2.6 percent from $41.3 million in 2014, which itself was down 4.2 percent from 2013, the board said in a news release.

Of that $40.2 million for fiscal year 2015, about $37.5 million will be available for funding of the contractor proposals that make the operating committee's final cut in September. The remainder of the budget covers other checkoff expenses, including evaluation, program development, USDA oversight, and program administration.

Something New Under The Sun: Latino-Owned Farms In U.S. Growing At A Healthy Pace

By Soni Sangha/ Fox News Latino

The number of Hispanic-owned farms is rapidly increasing in the United States, and it's thanks in part to the fact that about 15 years ago minority farmers successfully sued the U.S. government for discriminating against them.

Since that lawsuit, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stepped up their outreach to minority farmers (a group referred to using the unironic, bureaucratic-speak term, “socially disadvantaged farmers”) which has been a small contributor to the growth. But activists and plaintiffs charge that the changes may seem monumental but still leave minorities out of key opportunities. “We’ve made forward progress but we still have a ways to go,” explained Lorette Picciano, director of Rural Coalition, an organization that represents small farmers and producers in the U.S. and Mexico. Latinos are the largest minority segment among farm owners with the greatest concentrations living in Texas, New Mexico and California. They are have become key providers of certain produce. For example, they own two-thirds of the strawberry farms in California. Though Latinos only own a little more than three percent of all the farms in the U.S., there has been a 21 percent increase in ownership in the last 5 years, according to the Census of Agriculture. That increase is double that of other groups, and it counters the overall decrease in farm ownership in the country.

Most of the Latino-owned farms are small or mid-sized. That kind of farm presents challenges because it doesn’t always bring in enough money to support families. Spouses and relatives have other jobs to supplement family income.

Because of the investment required to begin a farm and the delay in income in the start up phase, access to loans and credit are critical. The discrimination lawsuit in the 1990s was about minorities being denied access to capital.

Alfonzo Abeyta’s family has been farming in Colorado for five generations. They bought their land in 1963 from a retiring Anglo farmer. Currently, the average farmer is older than about 65, so the USDA has launched recruitment efforts to bring in younger people.

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