Growing Together: Latino Farmer Learning Circles for Knowledge and Networks

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2017: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2019
Grant Recipient: Center for Rural Affairs
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Kathie Starkweather
Center for Rural Affairs
Wyatt Fraas
Center for Rural Affairs

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, networking, workshop

    Proposal abstract:

    This project empowers Latino farmers and ranchers to overcome social and informational isolation. Latino farmers are a highly motivated, growing population in Nebraska. But they are largely unrecognized by agriculture agencies, lack access to resources and support, and lack peer support and learning networks. Targeted outreach, bilingual and culturally conscious training, and personal relationship building surmount these barriers to promote success.

    The goal of this project is to support Latino farmers to start or expand environmentally and financially sound livestock operations and to develop peer and professional networks for long-term support. We will convene a learning circle of Latino farmers and ranchers in eastern Nebraska, co-led by agricultural professionals at the Center for Rural Affairs and farmer/rancher-leaders. Participating Latino farmers are small scale, diversified farms either currently or prospectively including animal production.

    Collaborative, bilingual learning sessions will address successful and sustainable livestock farming and ranching and related business topics. The learning circle format combines peer learning, expert training, resource introductions, and community building.

    Over the two year project, learning circles will transition from professional leadership to a self-sustaining peer group. This approach enables long-term peer support, provides ongoing learning opportunities, and promotes business sustainability.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Through six learning circle sessions including discussion and farm tours, increase Latino farmers and ranchers’ knowledge and skills in sustainable livestock production and marketing as shown on post-session surveys.

    At learning circle sessions, develop personal connections between Latino farmers/ranchers and professional service providers (NRCS, Natural Resource Districts, and others).

    Throughout the project, facilitate peer learning, mentoring, and networking among learning circle participants.

    By the end of two years, build a self-sustaining community of Latino farmers and ranchers of varying skill and experience levels with strong internal leadership.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.