Researchers at Michigan State University are going to empower Latino farmers by offering them cultural, educational and regulatory education that will complete their transition from employees to land owners.
Researchers at the University have $600,000 grant at their disposal that they will use for their work. According to the most recent data available at the USDA, the number of young people taking up farming continues to decline, but the number of new farmers over the age of 35, as well as the number of smaller farms and ranches, continue to rise.
Researchers hope to harness these trends to continue growing smaller farms for Latino farmers, but reverse the census data as it relates to young farmers. They intend to train farmers to successfully grow fruit while also educating farmers about crop diversification as well as how to increase sustainability of their farms.
According to the information provided by the University, researchers will be working with Latino blueberry farmers in southwest Michigan to improve operations and farming practices. Some of the resources they will provide include training in pest and nutrient management, worker safety, food safety and farm business management.
Once these bits are done, researchers will move onto educating the next generation of Latino farmers, and ensuring that the culturally rooted farms have sustainable futures. Members of his team from 4-H will offer programming to train children of Latino farmers and laborers and those from non-farming backgrounds so they can experience the lifestyle and career firsthand.