ATLANTA — Georgia's diverse farmers just received some federal help.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended its support to Georgia Korean-American Farmers Association members. USDA presented members with valuable programs and resources designed to boost their success in the agricultural industry on May 10.
Contrary to its name, the Georgia Korean-American Farmers Association welcomes farmers from all minority communities, not just those who are Korean-American, James Lee, executive director of the organization said.
Since its establishment in March 2019, the farmer association has focused on facilitating the gathering and sharing of information among farmers from diverse minority communities in Georgia.
Lee emphasized the challenges faced they face in getting the help they need to succeed.
"Sometimes the minority communities can be very disenfranchised from mainstream government programs," said Lee. "Our job is to be able to better make people understand. More importantly, we get them to the offices where they can talk about their needs and be connected to the services they need."
The collaboration between the farmer association and the USDA has played a role in growing agricultural productivity and advocating for the rights and interests of its members.
Although the number of Korean-American farmers in Georgia is relatively small, they are spread throughout the state, Lee said. The farmer association aims to establish three additional satellite offices to address their needs.
At the association's event, Arthur Tripp, the state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), spoke about the importance of engaging with farmers from different backgrounds.
"Having the opportunity to engage with the Georgia Korean-American Farmers Association is a big deal," said Tripp. "We're going to have the opportunity to talk about important programs."
During the event, Tripp discussed programs designed to provide farmers access to capital, guidance on applying for low-interest rate loans, and assistance programs for disasters and pandemic-related challenges.
"These are all very important things when it comes to ensuring that the United States Department of Agriculture can continue to support the American farmer," emphasized Tripp.
Tripp has been traveling across Georgia to inform farmers about programs that address issues beyond their control in the field.
"A lot of the things that particularly happen to our producers are through no fault of their own, such as weather patterns and climate. So we want to do our part to support the American farmer," Tripp said.
With over 64 USDA offices in Georgia, Tripp encouraged state farmers to visit the agency's website, local offices or contact them directly to explore the various government resources available.
"It's so important that we're continuing to expand how many folks we reach and help as many people as we can because farming is tough, but it's so important because we all have to eat," Tripp said.