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Mai Her Speaks for the Hmong

Mai Her knows poultry. With 170,000 broilers spread between seven poultry houses on 37 acres in Newton County, Mo., Mai also knows about the need for energy efficiency. Mai’s husband, Tou,, started the poultry operation in 2005 and is one of an estimated 100 Hmong poultry operators in Missouri. Fluent in English and Hmong, Mai is a valuable connection between the 1,300 Hmong people in Southwest Missouri and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As Missouri Farm Program Coordinator for Hmong National Development, Inc., Mai has had a lot of interaction with NRCS.

“We began working with Mai eight years ago,” Lynn Jenkins, district conservationist for Newton County said. “Our relationship has developed these past few years as she has assisted in translating material for local Hmong and getting more people in the community interested and involved with NRCS and its programs.”

Her spoke on behalf of fellow Hmong poultry farmers July 26 at the Missouri State Technical Committee meeting in Columbia. She presented information on the need for additional EQIP funding targeting energy efficient uses in poultry operations.

“Poultry farms use a lot of propane gas to operate,” Mai said. “It’s an expensive energy source. We need to look at ways to tap into energy efficient resources and learn how to allocate the sources among poultry farmers.”

Mai’s presentation was met with agreement from fellow landowners, farmers and NRCS partners and the topic is slated for further discussion at the State EQIP meeting.

To review minutes from the July State Technical Committee Meeting, please click here.