The long-term goal for this project is to better understand and support the incorporation of Latino agricultural entrepreneurs into agricultural networks, service delivery systems, and agricultural markets that will enable them to contribute to the wellbeing and wealth creation for sustainable rural development in the Midwest, specifically targeting Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri.
Overall Research Objective: Develop a framework to assess the agricultural livelihood strategies in the context of rural livelihoods and the field of farming (the set of institutions and organizations that support farming) to develop an entrepreneurial readiness protocol that can inform service providers and employers.
Overall Extension Objective: Assess the assets and needs of providers from the public sector and private sector and develop tools that respond to their needs in serving the Latino agricultural entrepreneurs.
Specific research objectives:
- Assessment of the range of agricultural livelihood strategies employed by Latino farmer-entrepreneurs to increase our understanding of where they are located on the path to viable farm operations in order to inform support services intended to assist them.
- Ascertain which agricultural regimes (confinement dairy, hog, beef, and egg production in Iowa, crop farming and ranching in Missouri, and blueberry farming in Michigan) most (and least) facilitate the realization of livelihood strategies.
- Examine Latino farms using a four-dimensional Livelihood diversification model measuring capacity based on five criteria – values (cultural capital), education and experience (human capital), relationships (social capital), resources (financial, built and natural capital), and strategies (combination of capitals) using survey research methodology preceded by key in-depth interviews with farmers and farm workers and focus groups with community leaders and service providers.
- Develop an Agricultural Entrepreneurship Readiness Scale as a tool that can be used by service delivery personnel to assess the specific needs of specific Latino farms so services can be tailored to more effectively address their needs.
Specific extension objectives:
- Train service delivery personnel in the use of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Readiness Scale;
- Organize networking events among Latino farmers and agricultural workers to broaden existing networks of support; and
- Coordinate outreach activities among service delivery agencies and Latinos in farming.
• Achieve recognition from employers, service providers, and community leaders that Latino workers are skilled and some of their talents are underutilized. Workers will be confident that they can build on those skills to better themselves.
• Generate a community dialogue on how to offer opportunities for Latino workers to develop careers based on their talents and skills.
• Gain in-depth knowledge of Latino farms and Latinos seeking to enter farming, their characteristics, capacities, and strategies for economic success.
• Produce a framework for understanding the features of Latino farms along the axes of capacity for farming and degree of diversification in their livelihood strategies.
• Create an Agricultural Entrepreneurship Readiness Scale for assessing the needs of diverse Latino farms.
• Expand networks among Latino agricultural entrepreneurs and stakeholders.
• Increase awareness of services available through USDA, Extension, and other agencies for farmers.
• Gain awareness of and skills in using the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Readiness Scale by USDA agency personnel and other providers.
This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2016-68006-25210 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.