WHO WE ARE

NLFR provides policy advocacy, farm management and sustainability training, conservation best practices, and technical assistance that enables Latinos and multiethnic farmworkers, farmers, and ranchers who have been historically discriminated against to transition and thrive in indigenous, regenerative and sustainable farming and ranching operations, while strengthening and safeguarding our national food supply system.

NLFR 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.

“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 National Latino Farmers & Ranchers (NLFR) 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.

our board

Rudy Arredondo, president

RUDY ARREDONDO

PRESIDENT/CEO/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


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.

Juan Garcia

Juan Garcia

President

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Raul Medrano

Raul Medrano

Vice-President

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Rigo Rios

Rigo Rios

Treasurer

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Taylor Reed

Taylor reed

secretary

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Sabine O'Hara

Sabine O'Hara

Board Member

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Alfonso Abeyta

Alfonso Abeyta

Board Member

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Anthony Martinez

Anthony Martinez

Board Member

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Juan Garcia

juan garcia

president

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

In 1976, Garcia received a BS degree in Animal Science from Texas A&I in Kingsville and was recognized 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 and was selected as the Texas 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 appointed as the FSA Administrator until his retirement in 2015. He also served on the Texas State FSA Committee from 2018 to 2021. Juan is currently working as a consultant and is a CARET Delegate for Prairie View A&M University.

Garcia has been an active member of several civic organizations and church groups. He and his wife Belinda have three grown children and live in Austin, Texas.

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Raul Medrano

raul medrano

vice-President

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).

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Rigo Rios

rigo rios

treasurer

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

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Taylor Branson

tylor reed

secretary

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.

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Sabine O'hara

sabine o'hara

board member

Dr. Sabine O’Hara is Dean & Director of Landgrant Programs of the new College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of UDC. In 2010 she founded Global Ecology to assist universities, governments and non-profits in increasing success by developing relevant curricula, research programs and community partnerships. She is a respected author, researcher and higher education executive who is well known for her expertise in sustainable economic development, global education and executive leadership.

O'Hara has experience in virtually every aspect of university administration including curriculum development, strategic planning, program accreditation, international partnerships, marketing and relevant research. A strong advocate of higher education, she believes that education cannot merely provide answers to our questions; it must also question our answers. Education must be relevant, compel us to think about the larger social, cultural and environmental contexts within which we live, and equip us to make a difference.

From 2007-10 she was Executive Director of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) a preeminent international exchange agency that administers the Fulbright Scholar Program and collaborates with over 3000 universities in 130 countries. Before joining CIES, O’Hara was the 10th President of Roanoke College in VA and held faculty and administrative posts at Concordia College Moorhead, at Green Mountain College in VT, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and as Visiting Scholar at Harvard University.

A native of Germany, O’Hara earned a doctorate in environmental economics and MS in agricultural economics from the University of Göttingen. She serves on the boards of national and international organizations, including as past president of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, the International Advisory Board of King Abdulaziz University

Specialties: Dr. Sabine O’Hara has lectured around the globe, is the author of three books and numerous articles and research reports and has taught courses and professional development workshops on topics including: making higher education relevant; economics and ethics; community based economic development; multi-cultural perspectives on sustainable management; identifying context-based success strategies; educating for social entrepreneurship

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Alfonso Abeyta

alfonso abeyta

board member

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.

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Anthony Martinez

Anthony martinez

board member

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.

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