Bee Cha, Hmong Program Coordinator at WSU Extension, has been appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire to the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. Cha, an outreach educator in the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, works with Hmong farmers in production, marketing and business management.
“It’s an honor to be part of this board. I want to be able to serve the Hmong community and make sure people are aware of the resources and policies that will affect them,” said Cha.
Cha, based in King County, works with nearly 80 Hmong farm families in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Language barriers and paperwork provide a challenge to many of the farmers who grow flowers and vegetables.
“Health insurance is a top priority,” said Cha. “Hmong farmers are self-employed and they don’t yet have all the skills to go through the bureaucracy. I’m teaching them about the importance of business plans and making sure they are up to date when they report what they sell to prove their income,” Cha added.

The commission was created to improve and insure Asian Pacific Americans access to government, business and education.

Cha will serve through June 2010.