We all win when the USDA American Rescue Plan 1006 adopts the NLFR NIFA Cooperators Agreement/proposal narrative as the culturally responsive approach for training and technical assistance (TTA) to reach the underserved Latino farmworker, farmer, and rancher. NLFR’s narrative aims to work collaboratively with the USDA and inspire the producers to access the many USDA agencies and extensions; to make these accessible. NLFR provides a holistic approach and focuses on bringing the necessary services to the producer’s community. Times are changing and we bring the winning formula: connection + relationship = trust.
Outreaching and educating the Latino farmworkers, farmers and ranchers in a culturally responsive approach about the opportunities the USDA offers is NLFR’s winning model. Most Latino farmers are livestock, vegetable, and other specialty crop producers. We direct them to: Farm Loan Programs – Direct Operating and Farm Ownership, Microloans, Non-Insured Assistance Program, Livestock Forage Program, Conservation – Soil and Water Conservation Plans and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Crop Insurance -Commodity crops.
Many disadvantaged producers own or operate small parcels of land and in these trying economic times, they need to have the necessary knowledge and experience to not only survive but thrive in their operations and be competitive in the value-add markets. Our Latino producers are having difficulty in accessing land and capital to initiate or expand their farming operations; therefore, they are dependent on USDA assistance if they cannot get credit elsewhere. When we have sent our producers to some Centers in the past, they lacked Spanish speaking personnel to communicate effectively with farmers, this discouraged them from moving forward.
USDA Agencies such as FSA, RMA, NRCS, OPPE, etc., are highly focused on the services they provide in silos, which creates a barrier of access and a lack of trust. NLFR is focused on culturally responsive communication and a holistic services approach; directly dealing with and addressing the needs of the community connecting producers to different programs and building trusting relationships.
By Sandra Gonzalez