Long-Term Goal: The long-term goal of this project is to facilitate land ownership, or, if not ownership, land access and sustainable land tenure for the large and growing population of immigrant and minority farmers in the U.S. <P>
Objective 1: NCAT and our network of partners will increase the use of USDA/NRCS cost-share programs and the USDA Organic Program by immigrant and minority farmers. <P>
Objective 2: NCAT and partners will develop information resources that allow immigrant and minority farmers to more easily access information they need.<P>
NCAT proposes to develop a series of innovatively formatted information pieces about topics important to immigrant and minority farmers. This information will be intentionally designed to be accessible to these groups through use of plain language (which eliminates overly complex language) and combinations of audio (in the appropriate language), audio/visual, short video clips, and graphic-heavy printed material (with electronic versions available). The informational material will be used in conjunction with hands-on trainings (6 in California, 4 in Montana, 3 in New Mexico or Arizona, 3 in Arkansas or Oklahoma and 2 in Mississippi or Louisiana) in these topics. It will also be designed, in part, for self-instruction, to augment the hands-on trainings and to be accessible outside the proposed project regions. Topics for this informational material were identified by NCAT and collaborators as a result of working with these immigrant farmers and those that work with them, as well as from surveys. <P>
A tentative listing of topics includes: 1. Conservation Cost-Share Opportunities for New/Immigrant Farmers 2. Organic Production: Principles, Practices, and USDA Support Programs 3. Evaluating and Starting a Farm Enterprise (includes farm financing and agricultural business planning) 4. Marketing Options and Strategies 5. Addressing Food Safety on Your Farm 6. Small Ruminant and/or Poultry Production <P>
Through the individual workshops and one-on-one technical assistance following the workshops, NCAT expects to serve 500-700 clients in the targeted states. <P>
As a result of either the trainings, self-taught modules, or technical assistance, we anticipate: <UL> <LI> Approximately 20 - 40 beginning immigrant and minority farmers will write a farm business plan. <LI>Approximately 50 - 60 beginning immigrant and minority farmers will take actions to begin to access new and existing federal programs that apply to them. <LI>Approximately ten beginning immigrant and minority farmers will begin the process of transitioning to organic production and accessing some assistance through new Farm Bill programs associated with organic production. <LI>At least 1,800 growers will read, hear, or see at least one topic component of the toolkit within a year of publication from the ATTRA website. (Based on past experience with similar types of publications.)<LI>A minimum of 7,000 downloads and requests for these informational materials from the ATTRA website within a year of web posting.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The demographics of the United States and its farm population are changing. The information needs of farmers, in both content and presentation format, need to address these changes. Over half of the 38 million foreign-born people living in the U.S. are from Spanish-speaking countries (Central and South America). Latino farmers are the fastest growing segment of an ever-decreasing farm population in the U.S. According to the most recent USDA census (2002), the number of farms in the United States decreased by four percent from 1997 to 2002. However, immigrant farming is on the rise; the number of Hispanic farmers increased by 50 percent during the same period. These farmers are both immigrants as well as new farmers with respect to the U.S. environment of finance, management, regulation and government program support. They need to have sources of better, more accessible information. Immigrant and minority farmers, though often surrounded by information, find very little of it accessible. Through trainings, technical assistance, and development of accessible information materials, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will help farmers better access technical information and government agricultural support programs, especially conservation programs. Using feedback from immigrant farmers and input from organizations that work with immigrant and minority farmers, NCAT and partners will develop a toolkit of informational material covering topics important to these farmers. Below is a draft list of topics. This material will be language-appropriate (plain English, Spanish, Hmong), graphic-heavy, and text-light, featuring audio components integrated with graphics, pictures, and short video. Proposed Topics for Trainings and Materials 1. Conservation Opportunities for Immigrant/Minority Farmers in the Farm Bill 2. Organic Production: Principles, Practices, and USDA Support Programs 3. Evaluating and Starting a Farm Enterprise (includes farm financing and agricultural business planning) 4. Marketing Options and Strategies 5. Addressing Food Safety on Your Farm 6. Small Ruminant and/or Poultry Production Through the individual workshops and one-on-one technical assistance following the workshops, NCAT expects to serve 500-700 clients in the targeted states (CA, MT, UT, NM, AR, OK, AZ, NV, MS). As a result of the trainings, self-taught modules, or technical assistance, we anticipate: - Approximately 20 - 40 beginning immigrant and minority farmers will write a farm business plan. -Approximately 50 - 60 beginning immigrant and minority farmers will take actions to access new and existing federal programs. -Approximately 10 beginning immigrant and minority farmers will begin the process of transitioning to organic production; accessing some assistance through new Farm Bill programs associated with organic production. -At least 1,800 growers will read, hear, or see at least one topic component of the toolkit within a year of publication from the ATTRA website. -A minimum of 7,000 downloads and requests for these informational materials from the ATTRA website within a year of web posting.
APPROACH: There are two stakeholder groups for this project: the immigrant farmers themselves and the organizations that work with these farmers. These stakeholders will be involved in each phase of the project. Stakeholder input will be focused in two areas: the format of the technical information developed for this project and the topic selections. NCAT has worked in the past with various immigrant farmer organizations and immigrant and minority farmers to identify the most user-friendly form of information access by Hmong, Mien, Latinos, African-American and Native American farmers. NCAT will work with partner organizations to review the informational materials (for more details on this, see Goals, Objectives section) for content and formatting. This will be done through face-to-face meetings at NCAT offices, as well as through teleconferences. Their input will be applied to the final materials that will be included in the "Farm Management Toolbox." When this material is used for trainings, feedback will be sought from training participants about the format and content of the information provided. The workshops would provide an opportunity for NCAT and collaborators to "sign-up" participants interested in receiving additional technical assistance (10-15 hours each) in specific topics. Whenever possible, the technical assistance will be done by farmers from the target populations that have been identified as exemplary in organic production, use of conservation practices, business management and record keeping by our collaborators. The farmers receiving technical assistance will in turn become information resources for new farmers in the future, a process that will be facilitated by NCAT, and can result in a farmer-to-farmer help network for the immigrant and minority farmers that participate in the project. The workshops at all locations will be either "stand-alone" workshops, or will be "piggy-backed" on existing farmer conferences in these locations to help immigrant farmers network with other farmers and farmers organizations in their area. This is not a data-gathering project, per se. NCAT will track the clients who attend the workshops and receive one-on-one assistance to determine the following: Their use of, and feedback about, the training materials; changes in their operation as a result of the trainings, or accompanying informational materials; and their success in applying for and accessing funds from USDA programs in the new Farm Bill as a result of NCAT trainings, technical assistance, and information. Feedback from these farmers concerning format and content of the toolkit materials will be used for future updates of the materials in question. The number of downloads and mail requests for the toolkit materials will be tracked by the project managers. This information will be used when deciding which components of the toolkit should have priority for future updating.