(202) 628-8833       info@NLFRTA.org

WHO WE ARE

WHO WE ARE


Our mission is to organize, engage and empower Latino farm and ranching advocacy groups, farmworkers transitioning into farm ownership, and, generally, small producers, throughout the United States and beyond. Furthermore, we are committed to promote sustainable farm and ranching policy for the improvement of farming operations.

We provide training and technical assistance to our members to ensure the quality of products and the integrity of safe food systems. NLFRTA offers guidance on relevant farm and ranching policy, through forums and webinars. We facilitate meetings with state, local and federal elected officials and work closely with working-people to ensure full inclusion of their voices in Congress and our deliberations to the Farm Bill.

“In the United States and throughout Mexico and Central and South America, Latino farmers, whose common bond is their agrarian roots and language, are systematically left out of the decision-making processes.”

The MISSION of the organization is to organize, engage, empower and provide technical assistance to Latino farm and ranching advocacy groups, farmworkers transitioning into farm ownership, and, generally, small producers, throughout the United States and beyond. Furthermore, we are committed to protect and promote sustainable farm and ranching policy issues for the improvement of farming operations. We provide training and technical assistance for the quality of our products and to ensure the integrity of safe food systems for our future. NLFRTA provides best practices training workshops on relevant farm and ranching and policy, forums and webinars, and facilitate meetings with state, local and federal elected officials and work with the Congress on the Farm Bill deliberations.

The National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association (NLFRTA) was founded in August of 2004 in Washington, D.C after working with many farmworker transitioning into farmers, ranchers and multiple advocacy groups for several years. Oftentimes, federal agencies such as the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among others, and mainstream and established farm groups tend to treat the issues of Latino farmers as an afterthought in policy formulation, if at all. As rural people, Agriculture and Farm policy significantly impacts Latino rural communities.

NLFRTA are also proud member of the Rural Coalition, American Sustainable Business Council, Local Food Association, Bert Corona Leadership Institute, board of directors.

Rudy Arredondo, president

RUDY ARREDONDO

PRESIDENT NLFRTA


Rudy Arredondo is a highly motivated bilingual problem solver and advocate with a lifetime career in civil, human, labor, immigration, health care rights, focus rural communities, agriculture, farming and ranching.

Specialized and equally transferable Spanish/English skills: Capable of researching, analyzing and structuring resolution of difficult situations. Able to identify, assess and leverage human and financial resources. Proficient in managing millions of dollars in public project funds. Intimately familiar with federal and local protocol and sensitivities. Adept educator and communicator.

Rudy is the President and Founder of the National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association, founded in 1997. He has served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture under two presidential administrations: both the Carter and Clinton Administrations, and is extremely familiar and long-term experienced working on Capitol Hill, maintaining strong relationships with key leadership in strategic power positions. Rudy is an experienced chief executive officer with a demonstrated history of working in the public relations and communications industry; skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Corporate Social Responsibility, Grassroots Organizing, Government, and Crisis Communications; and with strong business development professional experience he graduated from Columbia Union College.

Elvis Cordova

Elvis Cordova

Board Member

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Rigo Rios

Rigo Rios

Board Member

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Raul Medrano

Raul Medrano

Board Member

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Alfonso Abeyta

Alfonso Abeyta

Board Member

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Juan Garcia

Juan M. Garcia

Board Member

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Rose Garcia

Rose Garcia

Board Member

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David Sanchez

David P. Sanchez

Board Member

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Taylor Reed

Taylor Reed

Board Member

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Anthony Martinez

Anthony Martinez

Board Member

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Elvis Cordova is the President and Founder of Statecraft, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. His firm advises organizations and municipalities on effective management practices and federal policy-making by providing market and political intelligence, strategic planning for enhancing community-based and capacity building programs, and stakeholder engagement support.

Mr. Cordova is a seasoned executive with over 15 years of experience developing and implementing solutions for some of the most significant and high-profile challenges facing the U.S. public sector. He has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the U.S. government, strong relationships with a range of economic policymakers around the globe in key markets, and a unique combination of political, legal, economic, and international expertise. He is a proven strategist and manager, adept at building coalitions and communicating effectively to diverse stakeholders.

In 2012, Mr. Cordova was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). From 2012 to 2017, Mr. Cordova served in various leadership roles at USDA, including Deputy under Secretary and Acting under Secretary. He oversaw food labeling programs (including organic and biotechnology), international trade regulations, research & educational grant programs, and the expansion of local and regional food systems. He also served on the White Task Force for Puerto Rico, focusing on building public-private partnerships to aid in the economic recovery efforts for the island.

Mr. Cordova was a Presidential Management Fellow at the Farm Credit Administration and at the U.S. Department of Energy where his work encompassed alternative energy, economic development, financial services, and congressional & public relations. Outside of the federal government, he served as a consultant for the United Nations where he focused on trade development strategies for emerging markets. He also served as Vice President of Public Relations at Tzolkin Media Inc. and Director for Latin American programs at the Self Reliance Foundation.

Mr. Cordova began his career as a financial analyst at the Harvard Management Company. He is a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Graduate Fellowship, holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University. He also holds various professional certificates from Georgetown University, Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley, Universidad de Sevilla (Spain), Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État (France), and Pontificia Universidade Catolica (Brazil).

In his personal time, Mr. Cordova works with various national leadership organizations to create and expand opportunities for diverse communities in the Washington, D.C. area. He has previously served on the Executive Board of the Washington D.C. Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. He most recently served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for La Cocina VA (LCVA), which is a local non-profit organization that administers workforce training programs for underserved communities in the national capital region. The goal of LCVA is to create social and economic change by using the power of food.

Plant Growth Group, LLC is an international ag consultancy with a strong emphasis on hemp supply chains from seed to sale. Currently operating on multiple continents, the team of technical specialists have decades of experience in industrial and medical strain cultivation, processing and distribution. Plant Growth is dedi-cated to business models that benefit farmers and the planet.

Rios Vineyards & Farms Owner, Rios Vineyards & Farms Dates Employed Dec 2001 – Present Employment Duration 18 yrs 4 mos Fresno, California Grape Grower, citrus, stone fruits

RAUL MEDRANO, was born in Washington, DC, grew-up in Prince George’s Coun-ty and has raised a family in Montgomery County for 25+ years. His parents are from Honduras-Central America. He has lived in the greater Washington metropoli-tan area for 55 years and enjoys the diversity of culture in the metro area, especial-ly in Montgomery County.

He recently formed Café Medrano, LLC in 2017. Family owned and operated or-ganic coffee business which imports organic-specialty coffee from the highlands of Copan, Honduras, where his family has three generations of coffee growing ex-pertise. He seeks to expand roasting and distribution of Café Medrano’s quality aromatic coffee in the Washington, DC area via Farmer’s Markets, Bazaars, Festi-vals, organic coffee shops as well as on-line via Amazon. For more information visit: www.cafemedrano.com

Recently, he was tapped to establish and develop the small business and entre-preneurship program at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School for adult immigrant English-language learners (ELLs) in the Fall of 2016, bringing his small business expertise and a passion for serving the community. By bringing to the role a background in traditional media, economic development, government contracting, commercial real estate and community activism, the foundation has been set in creating a top notch small business program at the Carlos Rosario School community that serves the adult immigrant population at-large. Raul en-joys serving as instructor, coach and mentor to the small business participants in pursuing their dreams and aspirations. For more information visit: www.carlosrosario.org

Raul Medrano, also served for six years as a dedicated economic development professional with Montgomery County Government (formerly DED) from 2006 – 2011, serving with professionalism and dedication to the Montgomery County business community and in serving as the Germantown Task Force/Sector Plan Liaison during his tenure. He was instrumental in facilitating the attraction, reten-tion, and expansion of many advanced technology and small businesses in the Germantown Up-County region. Also, he worked closely with Montgomery Col-lege-Germantown Campus, Johns Hopkins University-MoCo Campus, and USG-UMD, on various workforce development initiatives and business roundtables.

From 2011-2013, he served as the first Campus Director of the Ana G. Mendez Uni-versity System, opening the Capital Area Campus in Wheaton, MD, and being part of the first dual-language accredited university of Higher Education in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

He also provided business development services for AQUAS, Inc., (Bethes-da/Kensington, MD), a certified woman-owned minority business enterprise (WMBE), providing IT services to the Federal, State and Local Government, from 2012 – 2013. During this time, he also received his commercial real estate license and is affiliated with Scheer Partners (Rockville, MD).

My father remembers this, perhaps above all things about those two days and the 65 years since. His father laid him down beneath a spruce, covered him with a canvas tarp stuffed with duff and spruce needles and surrounded him with three saddles to break the wind. Then he walked into the onyx night, into the wind that replaced the snow, and dug through the night to save the herd. My father doesn’t mention sleep, nor being cold, in his retelling of the story. He has sincere admira-tion — perhaps older than written words — in his voice.

Perhaps those two needed that wilderness. I cannot remember them getting along, not really. My father could never please my grandpa. I remember disliking the way he treated my dad. But I loved my abuelito. He was what we all wanted to become.

What drew my great-grandfather down from those potato sacks? Did he really fight Jack Dempsey until both men were too tired to continue? Did he abandon his family? Or is another story truer — that he’d had an affair with his boss’ wife, who then framed him for stealing? Was his leaving a story they told the children to pro-tect them from knowing he was sent to jail? Can you spend your entire life forget-ting the man who is your blessing and your curse?

Which is the greatest foe: the future heavyweight champion of the world; the ar-duous task of purposely forgetting; the blizzard that could have buried an entire herd alive; the blood of a father traced in the fists of his son; a wilderness of great meadows, house-sized rocks, wind and spruce; a 17-mile ride through a blizzard; shoveling for 12 hours straight; walking the empty sides of train tracks looking for coal; knowing that your oldest son wishes to never speak with you again; accept-ing a lie as truth; murdering away reconciliation; the daily task of never being sat-isfied? How do we come to know the thing that is most like us? I wonder if similar questions arise in places without mountains, rivers and trees made of shadow and silence. Surely, this is the work of the stormy and fierce heart of every human.

Dawn broke, the wind finally stopped, and faith was rewarded. My father rose from his bed of spruce needles to the sound of axe against timber, the constant thump of it as two small trees were felled. The trees were tied to my grandfather’s horse. Only the heads of the sheep were visible, but he rode the horse around the herd several times, clearing a path with the wake of the trees. Then he pointed the horse north, downhill, toward the river and home. Fidelito and my father urged and pushed a sheep onto the broken path. One by one, the sheep broke free and walked after their savior toward lower ground. By noon they’d crossed the river. By nightfall they’d all reached home, alive.

All of my grandfathers are gone now. On occasion I drive the road up from the riv-er, and I recall the camps, the good meals, the horses that went missing, the sev-eral herders, the animals we lost. Eventually, you reach a place where the road ends and there is a snow- and wind-battered sign that reads “Wilderness. Closed to motorized vehicles and motorized equipment.” It is known as the Toltec Unit, a cruel place with little water and a loneliness difficult to comprehend. So many sto-ries begin for me there. The men in my life are always associated with places — both wild and on the side of a well-traveled highway — and stories. I will never know my great-grandfather. I know the story where he is a hero and another where he leaves. The stories of my abuelito and my father are more numerous and more complimentary. There is a grace in knowing I understand them.

I reach the rocks and aspen trees where the herd was nearly buried. The natural world is intact, as it’s been for centuries. The human side has faded in the proper order of things. The place is made sacred by my memories, strength and the brief kindnesses displayed there so long ago. There are names carved upon the trees, but there is no need to read them; I know all they have to say.

Written by: Aaron A. Abeyta is the author of five books and recipient of the Ameri-can Book and Colorado Book awards. Abeyta is a professor of English at Adams State University, and he makes his home in Antonito, Colorado, where he also serves as mayor.

Juan M. Garcia is a native of Lyford, in South Texas, and was raised on his fami-ly's 500-acre cotton, grain sorghum and livestock operation. The Garcia family farm, in operation since 1860, received the Texas Land Heritage Award (recogniz-ing century farms and ranches) in 1976. The family farm is still in operation today.

In 1976, Garcia received a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Texas A&I in Kingsville (now Texas A&M University – Kingsville) and was recog-nized as the College of Agriculture Honors Alumnus in 2010.

Juan spent his 38 year career in USDA and served in various positions with the Texas Farm Service Agency. He served as a District Director in South Texas as well as East Texas, and Agriculture Program Manager at the Texas FSA State Of-fice. Earlier in his career he served as County Executive Director (CED) in Nolan, Hidalgo and Cameron counties.

Mr. Garcia was selected State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in 2009. In 2011, he took on the position of FSA Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs in Washington DC and in 2012 he was selected by then Agricul-ture Secretary Tom Vilsack, as the FSA Administrator until his retirement in 2015.

During his 38 year career with USDA, Garcia has received numerous honors and is a three-time recipient of the prestigious FSA Administrator's Award for Service to Agriculture. Outside of the Agency, Garcia has been an active member of sever-al civic organizations and church groups.

Garcia and his wife Belinda have three grown children and live in Austin, Texas.

Rose Garcia is the Executive Director of Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation Las Cruces, New Mexico. Through her visionary leadership over the course of 39 years, she has collaboratively grown the Tierra del Sol mutual self-help housing services pro-gram that has been in operation for 46 years. Rose feels fortunate to be identified with the organization that was inspired by local farm worker residents and has be-come as an exemplary regional and national organization to provide residents who earn low and moderate income with affordable housing, rural infrastructure and community economic development. She is recognized locally with the com-munity base as well as nationally in being a strong advocate leader and of change in affordable rural housing and economic development.

Rose has dedicated her professional life to the service of others. Her tireless work has advanced the economic and social living conditions of the working poor in rural America and in particular the farm workers and the elderly living in South-west colonias. Rose’s work has focused on the development affordable single-family homes, multifamily rental housing, preserving older owner-occupied homes and fostering small businesses in the colonias along the New Mexico, Texas, and the Mexican border corridor. She has devoted hard work and continues as a voice to advocate for the needs of the community at the local, state, regional and national levels.

Rose’s advocacy work advanced the volunteer advisory boards and committees. In 1980, she was a founding member of the Board of Directors for the National Ru-ral Housing Coalition in Washington, DC that does legislative information and ad-vocacy. In 1995, she was a founding member of the Rural Low-Income Support Corporation (LISC) and was dubbed as one of the founding mothers. Additionally, through her national advocacy for rural America, she helped found the initial Na-tional Rural Alliance of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, also known NeighborWorks America. She is proud to have been one of the lead-ers founding National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders. Numer-ous significant posts include serving as the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas as Vice Chairperson for the first original Affordable Housing Program Advisory Board; the Border Fair Housing and Equity Advisory Board for West Texas and Southern New Mexico; appointed by Congressman Silvestre Reyes to serve as Federal Reserve Bank Community Commission representing TX-New Mexico and the BBVA Compass Bank Advisory Committee. At the state level she served on the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority Advisory Council for Affordable Housing. Rose was recently appointed by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to serve on the New Mexico Construction Industries Commission. She has served many numerous local volunteer committees.

While Rose has lived an active life in community service, she gives credit to the Tierra del Sol board leaders, the mentors and many staff. Rose treasures her per-sonal relation of the Garcia family which is her sons Richard and Aaron, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Rose sums up her diverse community work as has not been just a job “it has been a way of life that she has been extremely fortunate to serve.”

Rancher, lifelong resident of Northern New Mexico, Hispanic Ranching Family, whose origins date back to the1598 Spanish Conquest era. Owner and manager of family private ranch properties Forest Service and BLM Grazing allotments. Over thirty years of Land management experience, Federal Policy, livestock operations, ecosystem and wildlife management in New Mexico and Colorado.

Retired Staff Member, “Los Alamos National Laboratory” Quality Assurance Engineer over thirty years professional experience; Policy, Planning, Management, and Operations with regard to million dollar programs of the Nations National Security.

Other Professional Experience that includes State Government appointments, organizations and University Recognition:
Rural Coalition- current Co Chair Farm and Ranch Team;
Northern New Mexico Stockman's Association, current Vice President;
New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, Former Vice President six years;
New Mexico State Land Office Agricultural Advisory Committee, 8 years;
(COMMISSIONER of Public Lands Ray Powell);
New Mexico State Agriculture Transition Chairman, for Governor Bill Richardson Administration;
Appointment to the New Mexico Game Commission, Governor Bill Richardson Administration;
Appointment to the New Mexico Livestock Board, Governor Bill Richardson Administration;
New Mexico State and Bureau of Land Management Environmental Impact Statement Team, Appointment, Governor Gary Johnson administration;
New Mexico State University Range Improvement Task Force, Pioneer Award for Stewardship;
Ranch Management and consultation for ranch operations;
Experience- lobbying and expert testimony before U.S. Congressional Committees and The New Mexico State Legislature.

EDUCATION: Espanola Valley High School 1977
University of New Mexico, pre engineering 1977-
New Mexico State University agriculture and engineering 1978-
Northern New Mexico Vocational Welding/Metallurgy 1980-
Hobart Institute of Welding/Metallurgy Troy Ohio 1983-
LANGUAGES: Fluent English and Spanish
HOBBIES and Interests: Horseback riding, New Mexico History, Politics, Hunting and fishing, Camping, and interacting and living amongst New Mexico's diverse customs and cultures.

A force in connecting how plants, animals, and human bodies interact with nature that has resulted in the deployment of holistic solutions to solve issues from soil to gut health to measuring carbon.  With a global network of change makers beyond compare, Taylor Reed is leading the next generations on how we produce and consume foods differently.

Currently serving as the COO of the World AgroEcology Alliance, an international non- profit advancing agroecological farming practices. While also working to include farmers in the Carbon Sequestration sector through his role as Executive Director of EnvironAct. Additionally he is the founder of the US Farm, US Water, and US Hemp Organizations. Previously he worked as Assistant Director for the global healthcare non-profit Gesundheit Institute, started by celebrity physician Dr. Patch Adams.

Over the course of his career, Taylor has completed numerous state and national lobbying campaigns, involving Healthcare Reform, Human Trafficking, Indigenous Rights, Environmental Advocacy, and adding Hemp Legislation to the 2018 Farm Bill. In 2008 and 2010, he led humanitarian aid efforts in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Additional international projects have focused on normalizing relations with Cuba and on behalf of the Ethiopian Crown Council, working on a continent wide Water Initiative in Africa.

Taylor has led Public Relations campaigns for National Associations as well as an ongoing nine year advocacy and art project with musician Willie Nelson. In recognition of his extensive work on behalf of the people of Ethiopia, and for raising cultural awareness, Taylor Reed Branson, by Warrant of the Crown of Ethiopia, was presented with the Royal Medal of the Lion and Inducted as a Member of The International Society for the Royal Ethiopian Orders.

Anthony U. Martinez started his life in Bad Axe, Michigan as the eldest of seventeen children in a family of Texas and Oklahoma migrant farmworkers. At the age of 18 he left home and the cotton fields to complete his last two years of high school, then going on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in sociology, social work, and law.

Martinez’ professional career has been a mixture of academia, military, and the business world. He is retired as a faculty member from San Francisco State University, College of Business, and the U.S. Army, Medical Service Corp, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving 28 years on active duty and reserves. He is a Vietnam-Era Veteran.

Throughout his career, Martinez has served on many boards. One constant has been his commitment to serve disadvantaged or poor communities such as Latinos, Native Americans, Blacks, and Asian Americans.

Today, Martinez spends much of his time in advising the Dineh (Navajo) Chamber of Commerce and its constituent businesses on multiple topics, including economic development, broadband and 5G opportunities, and other sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) strategies.

“At this stage of my life,” says Dr. Martinez, “I’m dedicated to improving the economic lives of farmworkers, Navajos, other Native tribes, and Latino and Black Farmers and Ranchers.” Evidently, he has never forgotten his roots.

Martinez earned his BA, University of San Francisco; MSW, Arizona State University; and Juris Doctorate (JD), University of California, Berkeley. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He recently earned a Certificate of Achievement in Sustainability and ESG from the University of California, Berkeley Law Executive Education Program.

KNOW OUR HISTORY

On a hot summer day in 2005, 400 plus Hispanic, Latino, African-American, Asian, and other minority farmers and ranchers gathered for the first time in Las Cruces, New Mexico to write a new chapter in American Agriculture.

NLFRTA_2005 Founding NLFRTA_2005 Founding Conference_Las_Cruces_NM

National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association 10th Anniversary

      (202) 628-8833       info@NLFRTA.org       1029 Vermont Avenue,NW,Suite 601,Washington,DC,20005