WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 10, 2011) — In partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Hmong National Development, Inc. is hosting a community roundtable in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Monday, Nov. 14, 2011.
The purpose of this convening is to provide a forum for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and its supporting organizations to provide input in identifying issues impacting USDA’s delivery of programs and services to the AAPI community, including Hmong farmers. The participants will discuss pressing needs and concerns as well as opportunities to increase AAPI access to programs and resources from USDA and local universities.
Dr. Joe Leonard, Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights, will be sending a team from Washington, D.C. to hold discussions with AAPI farmers and community leaders. Roundtable discussions will also be held with local and state USDA agencies, University of Arkansas extension offices and administrators, and other interested stakeholders.
Hundreds of Hmong families began moving to Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma in the early 2000s to start poultry farms. Severe financial hardships and stringent poultry industry regulations have made it difficult for Hmong farmers to maintain their farms and farm loans and many have since left.
Those who remain continue to struggle on a daily basis to not only compete with other poultry farmers but also to provide for their families and meet their basic needs.
“This visit from USDA is a crucial first step in developing sustainable solutions and partnerships to support the growing number of Hmong farmers in the Ozark region,” said HND President and CEO, Bao Vang. “Hmong families are eager for more opportunities to develop thriving farms and to promote sustainable agriculture, but the USDA and other entities must be aware of our unique cultural and linguistic needs as a community and the financial hardships Hmong farmers faced that other farmers did not experience. Through dialogue and partnership we can work to increase the number of farmers in America and support hardworking families.”
Hmong National Development, Inc. is a national, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization founded in 1993. Through collaborative efforts, HND provides the Hmong community with research, policy advocacy and leadership development. HND has and continues to advocate for the Hmong American community on a national level, while developing the capacity of individuals and Hmong non-profit organizations across the country through capacity building, youth programs and our exemplary Hmong National Conference. HND celebrates our history and culture while inspiring our communities to greatness.
For information contact Bruce Thao at 312-685-1393 or[email protected].