For some, farming isn’t so much a job they choose as it is a lifestyle they were born into. Many grow into the role of operator with strong support from their parents and grandparents. Others, however, enter the industry without the rich history of a family business to bolster them, and the related knowledge, infrastructure and resources.
During the spring, hundreds of Farm Credit members and staff from California and around the country head to Washington, D.C., for the annual Farm Credit Fly-In. While at the Capitol, associates visit with their members of Congress and key federal regulators to discuss pending legislation and other important matters affecting agriculture.
Jesus Toro is a man with a plan. The son of a farmworker and a former Marine helicopter mechanic, Toro’s goal is to become a fulltime beekeeper within three years, servicing orchards in California and the Pacific Northwest. A just-awarded Farmer Veteran Coalition grant – funded by Farm Credit – will be a big step toward achieving that goal.
Over the past seven years, former farmworker Aldo Gonzalez has expanded his farm business from five to 44 acres, helped by annual operating loans from California FarmLink, an Aptos-based nonprofit that since 2013 has also operated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
In 1975, a group of women concerned about challenges to California agriculture got together to “speak on behalf of the busy farmer” and educate consumers and legislators about farming issues. Today, the CWA has become one of the largest all-volunteer advocacy groups in the nation, consisting of a diverse group of bankers, lawyers, accountants, marketing professionals and consumers – along with farmers and ranchers.
Agribusiness students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo will have additional funding for student projects in the years to come after Farm Credit donated nearly $255,000 this year to create an endowment fund for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
For more than a quarter-century, the Center for Land-Based Learning has operated its successful FARMS Leadership Program, educating thousands of high school students about career opportunities in agriculture. And up through March of this year, the nonprofit had planned and implemented dozens of Field Day hands-on experiences throughout the state to get kids out of the classroom and onto working farms to learn more.
Latinos have been the largest ethnic group in California since 2014 and make up an even larger portion of the population in many of California’s farming regions. In fact, the fastest growing population of farmers throughout the state are Latinos transitioning from farmworkers to farmers.