Staff spotlight: Lucia’s leadership sparks success for beginning farmers

Seeing farmers achieve their goals is Lucia Schulz’s passion. Being the reason why they’re able to achieve those goals is her job.

As a project assistant for the Center for Rural Affairs, Lucia spends her time encouraging Latino farmers to network, educate, and lead. She motivates farmer leaders to host learning circles and organizes workshops, where she facilitates, translates, and interprets.

“These in-depth workshops are perfect for those with the passion to start their own farm or ranch business,” said Lucia. “Those who attend learn about business and financial themes, as well as production and marketing, and they don't have to own land or have experience to attend.”

Lucia a strong believer in the Center’s services, and she strives to use those programs to help farmers as much as she can.

“One of my goals is to help aspiring and beginning Latino farmers become viable producers and be connected to the resources necessary to be successful,” she said. "From crop insurance, to conservation programs, to the different low-interest loans available, there are a lot of different opportunities out there."

Another part of Lucia’s job is to help facilitate between our farmers and the agencies who can help them in Lexington, Schuyler, and Columbus.

However, travel is something she’s used to.

“I grew up as a migrant worker, spending every summer going to different parts of the nation,” Lucia said. “This experience helped me connect with farmers, especially the shared love of the soil.”

Throughout her travels alongside her parents, Lucia has gained much insight into the importance of rural communities.

“I enjoy learning new things, but especially helping others,” she said. “I have been in their shoes, coming from a migrant background. I know too well the hardships and obstacles that minorities go through. But, on the way there were individuals who took interest in me (us) to help us out. Those people are never forgotten.”

Lucia’s previous work has given her experience in grant writing, something she hopes to become more proficient in.

“Working with the Center offers me the ability to spread the word about farming, especially within the Latino community,” she said. “I hope to help increase the numbers of Latino farmers in Nebraska, and to spread the word on the importance of our rural communities being more inclusive.”

Lucia’s grateful to help others who have been in the same position she was.

“Rural communities are the backbone of what makes Nebraska special – each rural community I have visited has its own dynamic personality, and these various personalities are worth safeguarding,” she said.

When Lucia isn’t on the road, she’s at home with her husband, Caleb, and their pets – Chuck, a cockatiel; Blue and Papaya, their parakeets; and Speck, a black moor fish. The couple is involved with their church, and they enjoy visiting farmer markets whenever they get the chance.

Lucia can be reached at her home office at 402.750.5727 or lucias@cfra.org.