Fremont couple to receive Center for Rural Affairs award

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Kathie Starkweather, Farm and Community Program director,, 402.617.7946; or Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager,, 402.687.2100 ext 1025

Lyons, Nebraska - The Center for Rural Affairs has chosen Hilda Moreno and Carlos Alvarado, of Fremont, Nebraska, to receive the 2017 Bob Steffen Pioneer Award. They will be recognized at an award ceremony on March 9 in Red Cloud, Nebraska.

The Bob Steffen Pioneer Award is bestowed by the Center for Rural Affairs each year to a person or persons who work with the Center to make extraordinary contributions in building community engagement within their own communities. People who receive this award provide a model for innovation, stewardship, or community development.

“Hilda and Carlos have become leaders in the Latino farming community,” said Kathie Starkweather, Farm and Community Program director. “They continue to connect farmers with resources, as well as raise up the concerns of Latino farmers in the state.”

The couple took beginning farmer classes with the Center, and grew their farm business as a result. They hosted a “Know Your Rights” meeting for fellow Latinos, shared their personal immigrant stories as part of a panel on farmer immigrants, and hosted several classes and learning circles, which brought together experienced and aspiring Latino farmers for trainings.

“Within their own community, they are well known by both local Anglo and Latino community members,” Starkweather said. “Any chance they get, they share their farm with others in the area.”

Currently, Moreno is collaborating with the Center and her local University of Nebraska Extension specialist to create 4-H entrepreneurial youth classes for young Latinos. The classes will help young entrepreneurs qualify for youth loans with USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

“They are farmer leaders within our learning circles and are very vocal supporters of the Center and our programming,” Starkweather said. “They believe in the dream of a family farm.”

Moreno and Alvarado have two sons, ages 10 and 12, who are involved with the farm and have started their own egg business.

“Hilda and Carlos encourage everyone, even children, to start farming,” Starkweather said. “Then, they show them a successful path to reach that dream.”

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