FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- ABC30 salutes Michael Yang on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Yang is a former Hmong refugee who came to the United States when he was ten years old. He has worked for UC Cooperative Extension's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources for 26 years.
Yang says, "I'm a certified pesticide safety trainer, I speak Hmong, Lao, and English." Yang connects with local Southeast Asian farmers when he visits their farms in the central valley. "Fresno is a nice place to grow everything. We're the number one ag county in the nation."
He says Fresno County is home to over 1,000 Southeast Asian farms. "Farming is not easy, a lot struggle. First-generation Hmong came here. All they knew was the clothes on their back," Yang said.
Southeast Asian farmers in the area grow 200 specialty crops.
Yang connects with farmers as the host of the Hmong Agriculture talk show on KBIF 900AM every Tuesday 2 - 3 pm.
Heulong Siong is a Fresno County farmer who operates Siong's Strawberry Farm in Clovis.
He values Yang's radio show. Siong says, "The radio station helps a lot, and we listen because we are farmers. We can follow the latest on rules and regulations or training. It is very helpful to us Hmong farmers."
Yang is the first Hmong to reach Class II of Future Advocate and Concern of Tomorrow at Fresno County Farm Bureau.
He advises farmers in the areas of Merced, Sacramento, and Tulare as needed. "I provide technical assistance to all small farms: Hmong, Mien, Lao, Kamu, Cambodia, Chinese and Thai farmers in the Central Valley. Glad I was able to serve the number one agriculture county in the nation through the University of California Cooperative Extension Fresno."