A California program designed to train minority, low-income farm workers to become farm operators has recently celebrated its eleventh birthday and has been credited with creating more than 80 small farm businesses.
For the past several years, the US Department of Agriculture, along with several state farm organizations, has worried about stagnant demographics in the farm community. Despite a nationwide increase in minority populations, the agriculture industry has remained largely white. Part of the problem has been systematic discrimination. The USDA, for example, has recently settled several lawsuits filed by African American, Native American, Hispanic, and women farmers who allege that the department’s local loans programs have discriminated against them.
California’s Agriculture and Land-Based Association was founded in 2001 to combat this kind of discrimination. The program focused on providing farm training to minority farm workers in order to better prepare them for becoming farm owners.
The program has given farmers across the state, primarily Hispanics, a major leg up, helping to train them in crop management, production and planning, and marketing.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer