Minnesota Hmong American farmers celebrated their first graduation ceremony today in a first-of-its kind training program. Thirteen Twin Cities Hmong farmers completed a business development program that provided them with farm business management training, one-on-one business plan writing sessions, household financial assessments, and matched savings account counseling.
The training is geared for urban Hmong farmers who sell at local farmers markets. It also helps the low-income farmers qualify for loans from state agricultural microloan programs, and ultimately to purchase assets to increase farming productivity.
The program is a collaboration between Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and the Hmong American Farmers Association.
Lutheran Social Service runs the Eastside Financial Center in St. Paul that provides financial counseling, employment coaching, money management workshops and other services to help families and individuals improve their financial well-being.
The farmers’ group is a membership organization created in 2011 to help Hmong American farmers and their families to succeed economically and socially. Programs include assistance in accessing land, equipment, capital, and training.