Roberto Melendez of Happy Family Ranch in Midland, VA shares why he is joining the 100 young farmers heading to DC for our 4th Annual National Leadership Convergence this November 12th-15th.
“My parents and I own and operate Happy Family Ranch, a livestock farm in the Northern Virginia area just 50 miles southwest of Washington DC. In 2013 my parents purchased 125 acres of land as an investment opportunity with no intention of farming or any experience with raising livestock. What began as an experiment and hobby turned into a bonafide farm operation, and as of a week ago, a food truck operation. We recently acquired an EQIP grant to build up our farm and add well systems, buildings, and fencing in order to protect a water system that runs through our farm. We were not aware of any programs provided by the USDA prior.
Recently I have learned there are/were programs available to first time ranchers and minorities to assist in learning about agriculture. We are a hispanic owned and operated farm, one of the few in our area and it is a shame we did not capitalize on these programs earlier. I will be at the National Leadership convergence in D.C. next month. I hope to learn more about agricultural resources we have available in order to build better food systems that are based on using local agriculture, and to encourage more Latinos to get into agribusiness.”