Farm Aid is pleased to report that blueberry farmer Luciano Alvarado, co-owner of Palomo Farms in North Carolina, has been appointed to serve on the USDA's Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. Congratulations, Luciano!
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of Luciano and ten additional new members, who will join eight incumbents to serve on the Committee. According to the USDA press release announcing the new appointments, "the Committee will advise the Secretary on ways to develop programs to provide coordinated assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers while maximizing new farming and ranching opportunities. They will also work to enhance and expand federal-state partnerships to provide financing for beginning farmers and ranchers." The Committee's new members, including Luciano, other young farmers from around the country, as well state coordinators for the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, will also advise Secretary Vilsack regarding the 2012 Farm Bill.
We applaud Luciano's appointment, because it both acknowledges the increasing diversity of America's new farmers and recognizes Luciano's potential as deeply caring and committed spokesperson for Hispanic growers and all new farmers and ranchers. Luciano's calm, thoughtful demeanor and intimate knowledge of the Farm Service Agency's loan process will make for an excellent addition to the Committee.
As blog readers may recall, Farm Aid hosted Luciano as part of a new farmer fly-in last January at the Drake Forum on America's New Farmers and accompanied him to meetings with the USDA and at the office of his congressional representative. If you'd like to learn more about Luciano, you can see our profile and video interview of him by clicking here.