Discussing race, diversity, and discrimination in farming and food production is never easy, yet addressing the agricultural industry’s most gut-wrenching, complex, and timely issues has long been central to AGDAILY’s identity.
This is the second year of the internship, which has helped digital news outlet AGDAILY lead the conversation about diversity and inclusion among farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders.
“The ag community has naturally progressed some in examining social issues that impact minorities in agriculture, but in an industry so full of passionate people, there’s never been a better time to dive deeper, and take a look at what makes our communities not only unique, but stronger,” said AGDAILY Associate Editor Heidi Crnkovic. “In an industry where 2 percent feeds the rest, it’s going to take everyone to move ag forward.”
Nguyen is originally from Anaheim, California, and attended the University of California, Davis, as a first-generation college student. She received a bachelor’s degree in genetics and genomics and went on to earn a master’s in horticulture from Penn State, where she helped maintain breeding operations in the college’s greenhouse during winter and oversaw fertilizer application, pest management, and soil health.
Through her field research in agriculture, she has gotten to see diversity up close, particularly as it relates to farm labor and the language barriers. When working with some field crews, Nguyen describes having had to communicate with people who are not native-English speakers though body language and other gestures.
She also says that books have had a significant impact on her perspective, such as Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, which documents the author’s experiences as an indigenous plant scientist and how indigenous knowledge about agriculture and farming has been forgotten or erased.
“It’s important to seek out stories where diversity in agriculture is talked about,” Nguyen said. “I was lucky to be presented with or to have experienced some of these types of stories in the past, and it greatly broadened my opinions and views of agriculture in America. I think these stories can benefit others as well, and help facilitate a more inclusive and broad range of discussions about the future of farming.”
Nguyen’s work will be featured heavily on AGDAILY’s Diversity In Agriculture resource webpage — a destination that has helped to drive discussions about the historical and modern influence of racial minorities, LGBTQ+ communities, and native cultures in the American food system. The page is supported by American Farmland Trust, a national nonprofit that has spearheaded conservation in agriculture by focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work.
“Through this unique partnership with AGDAILY, American Farmland Trust has been able to help lift up voices of people in agriculture with diverse cultural backgrounds, lifestyles and perspectives,” said David Haight, AFT Vice President of Programs. “The challenges facing farmers and ranchers are so great, we need to embrace everyone who is willing to do the hard work. These stories have shown the strength that grows in the agricultural community when there is equity in opportunities and moves us toward a more productive and resilient future.”
AGDAILY’s efforts to amplify diversity in agriculture in recent years have manifested themselves through its industry-defining exploration of race and agriculture and through other pieces that have been written about race and minority farmers. Past student leaders of the National FFA Organization and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences have made valuable regular contributions in this space, and AGDAILY has highlighted other demographics that the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies as “Historically Underserved Farmers & Ranchers” — including beginning farmers and veteran farmers, as well as women farmers.
Nguyen’s articles will be available here. For more information about AGDAILY and its content, email Managing Editor Ryan Tipps at [email protected]
Ryan Tipps is the founder and managing editor of AGDAILY. The Indiana native has a master’s degree in Agriculture and Life Sciences from Virginia Tech and has covered the food and farming industries at the state and national levels since 2011.