by Dan Santella
Some attendees noted logistical challenges at this year’s MAFO National Farmworker Conference, which came to a close Wednesday, but seemed largely pleased with the three-day affair at the McAllen Convention Center.
“If you had a hotel next to the Convention Center, it would be better, more facilities,” said MAFO CEO Heladio “Lalo” Zavala, whose organization retains the acronym for Midwest Association of Farmworker Organizations although MAFO now is countrywide.
Jose Simon Villa, CEO of East Coast Migrant Head Start Project, pointed to a lack of airline connections to McAllen.
“I’m coming from Raleigh,” he said. “Flights are limited.”
Zavala did summarize the conference positively, though, calling McAllen “a good host” and “a great city.”
The event sought to facilitate connections, Zavala said.
“For us, it was important to establish relationships here,” he said.
The conference featured breakout and plenary sessions that covered a myriad of topics, including education, financial literacy, immigration, antibiotics, housing, human trafficking and agricultural data, among other presentations.
“This is the only national (farmworker) conference that deals with a multitude of (farmworker) and rural community (issues) that impact the quality of life for migrant and seasonal” farmworkers, MAFO spokesman Rod Ritcherson said via email prior to the conference.
MAFO Chairman Lupe Martinez estimated Tuesday that representatives from upward of 25 states participated in the conference. Continue reading here.