Independent Hmong farmers can learn about USDA financial assistance available to them through a bilingual video produced by the National Hmong American Farmers (NHAF). The 10 minute video, called “Working with the USDA,” describes loans and grants available to farmers.
The video, which is available in Hmong with English subtitles, follows Mary Vu, a Hmong farmer near Fresno, California. Mary owns 11 acres and grows strawberries, flowers, and vegetables. Mary has lost crops due to bad weather, so she goes to her local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Fresno. Mary has been a farmer for many years, in her native country as well as in France, but she is not very aware of how the USDA could help her during these hard times. The video is an educational tool to help Hmong farmers learn about the financial support they can get and help other groups better understand some of the common struggles small farmers face.
Mary is directed to Tou Thao, an FSA loan officer, who explains that there are 2 types of loan programs available to help farmers like her: direct loans or guaranteed loans. Tou describes how much money Mary could borrow, for what purpose, and for how long with the different types of loans. Mary also learns that there are grants available to help here improve her farm, for example, by installing drip irrigation or protective crop covers. Information on all the FSA loans described in the video is available in the web booklet, “Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans.”
The NHAF is a non-profit 501c3 organization whose mission is to preserve Hmong-American farm culture by promoting economic self-sufficiency for Hmong-American and other immigrant and ethnically underrepresented farmers. They provide services to independent farmers throughout the country, with special focus on California’s Central Valley farmers, who may have limited access to government programs. Contact NHAF at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 225-1081.