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Jo Lynne Seufer, 509-228-6320

AMERICAN FARMER'S DREAM

WASHINGTON, Aug 17, 2010 - Nestled in the Yakima Valley of Washington, 160 miles east of Seattle on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains, Evaristo Silva is living his dream.

PHOTO: Evaristo Silva of Tieton, WA
Evaristo Silva of Tieton, WA

Central Washington is one of the Nation’s premier areas for growing fruit - a passion Silva acquired immediately upon working in his first orchard. Since coming to the United States from Michoacán, Mexico, in 1972, Silva settled in Tieton where he tended to many perennial crops as a farmworker. It was in 1993 when he purchased a 10-acre apple orchard and a 30-acre pear orchard that initiated his life-long dream of being a land owner. Amazingly, Silva purchased this land through a personal contract with a local farmer who trusted and believed in him. This was a significant step toward establishing himself in the agricultural community.

For the past several years, after expanding his orchard, Silva began attending Spanish/English farmer workshops coordinated by the Center for Latino Farmers (Center) in partnership with RMA's Community Outreach and Assistance Program. “I was excited after attending my first workshop on Manejo de Agro-Negocios (Agri-Business Management), and wanted to learn more,” said Silva. “So I continued to attend more workshops, everything like Computer Basic; Manejo Financiero (Financial Management), Contabilidad Computarizada (Computerized Accounting QuickBooks) and Taller de Impuestos (Business Tax Training).”

According to Luz Bazan Gutierrez, Director of the Center, “Partnerships with RMA are a perfect fit to reach the growing number of Latino farmers in Washington State. This year, we began using RMA’s Risk Management Checklist that had been translated into Spanish, Lista de Comprobación para la Administratión de Riesgos. This risk assessment tool provides a comprehensive review of the issues faced by farmers, which were analyzed and used as a base for coordinating workshops to help minimize risks.”

PHOTO: Silva in his orchard
Silva in his orchard

Dave Paul, Director of RMA’s Spokane Regional Office noted, “The Center is a valuable partner, helping us create awareness of RMA insurance programs to in-growing number of bilingual Latino farmers, either through one-on-one assistance or their informative newsletter, El Agricultor Latino (The Latino Farmer).

Silva also worked one-on-one with Eliel Cruz, RMA Outreach Risk Specialist, who assisted him with methods to help manage his farm risks. “We used RMA’s SWOT Analysis guide, titled Ejercicio de Análisis SWOT in Spanish,” said Cruz. “The SWOT evaluated Mr. Silva’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the threats involved in his farm business. We also featured the SWOT during one of our RMA-sponsored education broadcasts on Yakima Public TV, charter cable channel 21, TCTV.”

Cruz also assisted Silva in finding local crop insurance agent, Drew Killian, of Northwest Farm Credit Services via RMA’s Agency Locator. Killian became Silva’s insurance agent. “Working with Mr. Silva is inspiring because of his hard work and determination to succeed. Together with Eliel, we looked at the different insurance options including individual and whole-farm policies to see which would best fit Evaristo’s farming operation and determined Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite was the perfect strategy for sustainability and managing both his yield and revenue risks in one policy,” Killian said.

Silva is happy with his AGR-Lite policy. “Knowing it gives me protection on production and price is great,” Silva said.

“AGR-Lite is a good risk management tool," Gutierrez added. "Eligibility includes having five years of financial farming history. Mr. Silva met the requirements and we hope someday they can be modified for our growing number of new and beginning farmers.”

Now, almost 40 years after coming to America, it seems more than dream-like that Evaristo and his wife Maria are the owners of this land and the bountiful fruit it produces annually under the blue skies of Washington State. "This farm is really a dream come true," Silva said. "And I am very happy to own it and make my own management decisions.”

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