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Focus on Helping Under-served Clients in the Caribbean Area

Ciales limited-resource farmer, Ernesto Santiago, with his wife.The Caribbean Area NRCS makes every effort to include beginning, limited-resource and socially-disadvantaged farmers in our programs. For example, Arecibo Soil Conservation Technician, Linnette Rosado, is working with Mr. Ernesto Santiago Miranda, a Limited Resource Farmer from Pozas in Ciales, PR, to conserve resources on his farm through EQIP.

Mr. Santiago leases 8 acres of land on which he cultivates about 6 acres of coffee. Mr. Santiago is also disabled (he has only one leg), but that does not prevent him from actively working his farm - the main source of income for his family. Last year, Mr. Santiago and his son hand- pruned 1.3 acres of coffee trees. Mr. Santiago plans to continue growing coffee while applying conservation practices that help him improve soil quality and conserve natural resources. He will plant 5 more fields (2 acres) in the hgher-producing Caturra coffee variety, and will soon be hand pruning two more fields (1 acre). Contour farming and residue management (no till) practices will also be implemented. NRCS Arecibo FO personnel will continue to assist him in improving the sustainability of his farm.

Above: Domaso Santiago, the farmer’s son, surveys their hand- pruned coffee trees. Right: Mr. Ernesto Santiago and his wife at their farm house.