Carthage, North Carolina
Farm Credit Affiliation
Carolina Farm Credit
Maykia Xiong is committed to helping her community, mentoring other farmers and influencing regional and national level rural policies.
Maykia’s path to farming was anything but direct. Forced to leave their native Laos due to her father’s support for the CIA during the Vietnam War, the family made much of the journey to an interim refugee camp in Thailand on foot. She then immigrated to the U.S., where she put herself through undergraduate and graduate school. She first found success in the Information Technology field while living in Arizona and she still serves as a Senior Engineer for American Express.
Desiring both additional stability and deeper community roots, Maykia and her family moved to North Carolina and built a 12-house poultry broiler operation and cattle farm which she helps manage today.
Maykia soon found that significant language barriers and cultural gaps existed for other Hmong-American poultry farmers in the area. Many were either unaware of or hesitant to take part in beneficial programs available to them from Farm Credit, USDA and NRCS. With a strong desire to “pay her success forward,” Maykia began mentoring the local Hmong-American population, providing education and other support to help these farmers succeed.
“Even with my education background and fluency in English, I find it very difficult to be a first generation farmer in this county,” says Maykia. “Agriculture, especially poultry, was extremely new to the Hmong community and to me. Through my struggles and hardship with financial institutions, integrators and government programs, I want to make available resources to assist Hmong-American farmers in all aspects of their farming needs.”
Maykia’s mentoring role expanded to the regional and national level, and she earned an appointment by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee. She also serves on local FSA and other related boards.
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