The United States Department of Agriculture, together with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau, invites farmers, ranchers and community leaders in the agriculture industry to attend a community partners meeting at Shepard Hall in the Santa Maria Public Library, 421 S. McClelland Street, Santa Maria, CA 93454, on Thursday, August 4 from 10am to 12 pm.

The goal of the partner meeting is to gain insight into coastal agriculture topics, industry, and support organizations. This information is useful for helping us plan for the upcoming Latino Farmer Conference that will be held November 15 in Monterey, Calif. For registration and event details, visit https://latinofarmerconference.ncat.org/sponsor.php

The Latino Farmer Conference at Monterey will consist of breakout sessions to educate about conservation practices such as; soil health, efficient use of water, beneficial insects and marketing and market placement. We have created the environment for networking with farmers and ranchers from around the state of California. The agricultural industry and support organizations will host booths with valuable information and a farmer panel session will be developed for sharing business insight and industry trade advice.

According to the USDA agricultural census, there are over 8,000 registered Hispanic farmers and ranchers in California. The Hispanic farmer is now growing at two times the rate of the traditional American farmer. USDA leadership has identified these farmers as being historically underserved. Our annual Latino Farmer Conference looks to extend the reach to these farmers. Therefore the conference is strategically moving around the state of California. We invite all support organizations with a Hispanic/Latino customer interest to attend the community partners meeting. This is the perfect opportunity to share input with the conference planners, on topics of interest as we grow the network and potentially develop a future Latino Farmer Conference in Santa Maria.

To RSVP, contact Victor M. Hernandez at victor.hernandez@ca.usda.gov or 530-792-5628.