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7th Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference, Feb. 3-4, 2012

News Release

For Immediate Release: Friday, December 16, 2011

Media Contacts:
Glen Hill, Minnesota Food Association, 651-433-3676, ext. 11, or
Ly Vang, Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women, 651-222-0475

7th Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference
Friday and Saturday, February 3-4, 2012 in St. Paul, MN.

St. Paul— Minority and immigrant farmers are invited to participate in the 7th Annual Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference. Hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota, Minnesota Food Association, USDA-Farm Service Agency and USDA NRCS, the two-day conference provides education and resources to small farm operators and fosters relationships between farmers and community partners. Major sponsors of the conference include: AgStar, Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Land Stewardship Project, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, USDA Risk Management Agency, USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights, CHS, United FCS and University of Minnesota.

Women and Immigrants are among the fastest growing sector of farmers. The conference supports these new and aspiring farmers and their contribution to building an adequate supply of local foods, local economic development and healthy communities.

The 7th Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference will be held on February 3-4, 2012 at the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters Event Hall, 710 Olive Street, St. Paul, MN. The theme of the 2012 Conference is “Planting Seeds for Success on your Farm.”

Registration is on-line at www.mnfoodassociation.org, or by calling MFA at 651-433-3676, or the Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota at 651-222-0475, or for Spanish speakers, call the Main Street Project at 507-786-990. The conference is free to farmers, and language interpretation is available. The cost for other interested parties is $50 per day.

Please register by Monday, January 23, 2012. Interested farmers and CBOs who have questions should contact:
Ly Vang, at 651-222-0475, e-mail: lyvangaahwmn@yahoo.com;
Joci Tilsen at 651-433-3676 ext. 14 or e-mail: jtilsen@mnfoodassociation.org
Nigatu Tadesse at 651-602-7705 or email nigatu.tadesse@mn.usda.gov

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Community news, Press Release

 

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Made in Minnesota 2011: Fertile Ground for Minority Opportunity

Minnesota 2020 recently released Made in Minnesota 2011: Fertile Ground for Minority Opportunity, which highlight findings on how immigrants, refugees and new arrivals to Minnesota are revitalizing neighborhoods
and entire communities through their involvement in MN’s agriculture economy and retail and other
business firms.

Some key findings:

  • Minnesota’s ethnic and immigrant communities contribute more than $12 billion to the state’s overall business activity.
  • Retail and service sales from minority-owned enterprises are estimated at $5.8 billion. These enterprises employed about 40,000 people.
  • Revenue at minority-owned firms increased by 83 percent between the 2002 and 2007 Census of business owners, compared to 30 percent for all Minnesota firms.
  • Minnesota farmers’ markets contribute up to $64 million in annual net economic benefits.
  • Minnesota is home to more than 11,300 Asian-owned businesses, generate $2.4 billion in revenue, and employ nearly 17,500 workers.
  • “Other Asian owned firms” (mostly Hmong) totaled 3,271 with $507 million in 2007 revenue.

Highlights on challenges and problems:

  • Mainstream and organic sectors of agriculture are capital-intensive and asset heavy, presenting a major barrier for entrance to agriculture.
  • New residents and prospective entrepreneurs have difficulty learning about and accessing federal and state programs that could help with everything from startup and business loans to complying with regulations.
    • Language problems and a general distrust of government are some of the main barriers.

Key recommendations:

The Minnesota Legislature should invest in expanding the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and its Small Business Development Centers. Greater cultural awareness and expertise would help with outreach and training for aspiring ethnic entrepreneurs.

Minnesota’s Office of Tourism should develop a brochure guiding travelers who want to explore the state’s international cultural venues and markets, similar to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown directory.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Community news, General Comments

 

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