CENTER FOR LATINO FARMERS
* Connect Latino producers to USDA, WSDA & Ag trade programs & services
* Conduct educational workshops in English/Spanish for farm sustainability
* Assist producers to apply & qualify for low interest FSA loans
* Coordinate projects on farm development
* Promote & develop marketing cooperatives for increased profits
State of Washington
Bravo! Ag Food Safety Series
Pasco,WA - The Center for Latino Farmers, a division of RCDR community development, hosted a very informative educational series titled “Food Safety for Farmers & Consumers” at Columbia Basin College in Pasco targeting new beginning farmers and farm workers transitioning to farm owners. The series and its success was made possible through a partnership grant from the WA State Dept. of Ag (WSDA). This is one of several projects funded for specialty crop farmers. Based on the series, the partnership is wildly successful!
The 20-hr series were held during four evening sessions on Feb 26, 26, 28, & March 1 to accommodate the schedules of specialty producers and/or farmworkers that also work full time at bigger farms. Of the 27 attendees, 23 received a Certificate of Completion. A pre-post quizzes allowed the staff to determine if attendees had increased their knowledge, AND clearly the results show an increased knowledge by (83%) on the various topics discussed.
The series came about after hearing farmers’ concerns on the regulations and requirements in the implementation of the national Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA/FDA) and other food safety rules and regulations. The topics of the workshops included experts from various agencies such as WSDA, USDA-FSA, NRCS, NASS, Farm Auditor, WSCC, Farm Credit Service, Ag Real Estate agent. The knowledge of the presenters and availability of on-going translations, made it a comfortable environment for all attendees to engage in the discussion of topics.
Maria Giedra, Farm Outreach Specialist for Center was the lead organizer for the series and its success can clearly be seen in the participation of specialty farmers/farmworkers and the support of state and federal agencies. Ms. Giedra said, “It takes a great deal of preparation, time and effort in reaching out to the socially disadvantaged farmers, but in the end it was all worth the effort to see their increased knowledge, gratitude and smiling faces.”
Jill Wisehart, Management Analyst for WSDA, was one of the first presenters who commented that food safety is a priority for their department, and that this partnership helps link their services to the socially disadvantage farmers that are many times are overlooked.
Jerry Buendel, Manager for Ag Investigations at WSDA spoke about his job in helping farmers comply with regulations on farm and food safety. He said, “It’s a great opportunity to be here speaking directly to the farmers that need more information on compliance with food safety regulations.”
Chris Mertz, WA State Director of NASS, was able to provide hands on help to at least five farmers that had never completed a Farm Census survey (conducted every five years). Mr. Mertz said, “Counting every farmer in our state in important, that is why these workshops and partnerships are important.”
The Center for Latino Farmers was started in 2001 by the Center for Business Development (RCDR) based in Yakima, after several Latino farmers complained to the board of directors that they also were businesses and needed technical assistance. Since that time, the program has been very successful in helping farm workers become farmers and helping existing farmers to become more financial savvy.
For more information, call the Center at 509-453-3157 to sign up for future workshops or to get help in obtaining low interest loans from the USDA-FSA.
Juan Gonzalez, Jacobo Patricio, Yolanda Valencia, Jesus Ibarra, Christopher Farias, Rosario Farias, Maria Mixquitl, Maria Giedra (Center Staff), Deysi Gonzalez (Center Staff) Onorio Mosqueda, Maria Jauregui, Rodolfo Hurtado, Chris Bieker (USDA-FSA), Rafael Hernandez, Ladislao Miranda, Heriberto Silva, Nicolas Zamago, Dolores Hernandez, Nelson Robles, Roberto Fuentes, Custodio Olivera, Maria L. Olivera, Ruben Cortez, Edgar Delgado, Antonio Vargas, Raul F. Garcia
November 2017- Maria Giedra, CLF Staff, Crispín Garza, USDA-FSA, Guadalupe Razo, Filiberto Razo, Ramona Lopez, Ana Pérez, Juan Sr. Pérez, Nauth Esteves, Reinaldo Ayala, Letka Dorantes, Rosanel Almada, Anel Dorantes, Leonel Valencia, Jose Valencia, Victoria Lopez, Rafael Lopez, Ricardo Espinoza, Pedro Rodríguez, Carmen Rodríguez, Abril Lopez, Nicolás Pérez, Carmen Hurtado, Rodolfo Hurtado, Thomas Schneider, Ramona Quiñones, Nicolás Pérez, Obed Pérez, Evaristo Silva Jr., Obed Pérez, Agustín Arteaga, Bertín Arteaga, Elías Moreno, Rafael Caldera and Maria DJ Rodríguez, Executive Director.
2017 Small Farms Conference
USDA-NASS 2012 AG Census highlighting Hispanic Farmers
“As part of the Ag Census Highlighting Hispanic Farmers”
2017 Fall Newsletter 2017 Annual Report
2016 General Survey Results Barrier Study
Advisory Committee Members
* WA State Dept of Agriculture
* WA State Conservation Commission
* WA Growers League
* Cowiche Growers
* Employment Security/WorkSource
* Inspire Development Center
* Intertribal Ag Council