CASNR Instructor, Students Active at Latinos in Agriculture Leaders Forum
Hispanic leaders from Texas Tech University took an active part in the ‘Latinos in Agriculture Leaders Forum’ on Oct. 17-19 in San Antonio. Among those adding to the event were Lyda Garcia, an instructor and researcher with Tech’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences, along with five Texas Tech undergraduate students.
The undergraduates were:
- Derek Correa, a freshman agricultural and applied economics major from Lyford
- Briana Rendon, a junior animal science major from McAllen
- Masi Mejia, a senior natural resource management major from Laredo
- Horacio Garza, a sophomore animal science major from Edingburg
- Silvano Pena, a sophomore animal science major from Hebbronville
Considering the rapidly changing demographics in the United States and the low numbers of Hispanic students entering agriculture, program organizers noted that it’s time to seize the opportunity these changes bring to agriculture and engage in a deliberate and collaborative effort to improve Latino representation in agriculture and related industries.
Garcia, who served as the group’s sponsor, was as a forum speaker. Her presentation was titled, “Proven Methods in Recruiting Hispanics into Agriculture.” Meanwhile, Mejia was selected to serve on a discussion panel, as well as a forum representing a student’s perspective.
Other presenters at the event were USDA undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos; Farm Service Agency administrator Juan Garcia; and National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Association CEO Rudy Arredondo. The forum was sponsored by Texas Farm Bureau; About Harvest; Farm Credit System; Elanco; Capital Farm Credit; CHS Foundation; and others. Attendees represented 14 states and three countries.
For years, government and higher education groups have been working at trying to interest minorities into agriculture but with limited success, the group’s leaders note. Some agriculture-related companies have been working hard to find a diverse and qualified applicant pool as well, but the problem lies in that there are very few Hispanics are enrolling in agricultural related degrees in colleges in the United States.
During the past two years, Texas Tech’s Garcia has assisted CASNR’s Dr. Bill Bennett Student Success Center in increasing diversity enrollment by aiding in the recruitment of first generation college students and minorities. “Getting the student to Texas Tech is only half the battle,” she said. “Keeping them is the other half.”
Written by Norman Martin
CONTACT: Lyda Garcia, Instructor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806)742-2805 or firstname.lastname@example.org