HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – An immigrant who began working on a local farm 12 years ago in Hadley will soon take ownership of that same farm.

Rosendo Santizo says the opportunity to own his own farm is a dream come true. He hopes his journey will inspire other immigrants to reach their goals.

Rosendo Santizo immigrated from Guatemala to the United States when he was only 19-years-old to make money for his family at home. After a few years in Florida, he traveled North to Hadley to harvest carrots at Winter Moon Roots Farm. He never could have imagined what his future had in store for him.

“That was about 12 years ago. I’ve worked really hard,” said Santizo.

The hard work paid off. Rosendo is set to take ownership of the farm this May. As his experience in the job grew, so did the farm. What began as an operation of just a few acres has grown over 17 acres. He spent the last three years learning the other parts of the business.

“This farm is part of my life and I’m so excited about everything that’s happening. It’s my dream and I think it’s a dream for a lot of people,” said Santizo.

A study from 2019 found that 98 percent of farmland in the United States between 2012 and 2014 was owned by white farmers. Rosendo hopes to change those statistics by inspiring other immigrants.

“It’s not common to see someone who is an immigrant, like Spanish or person of color. If you have an opportunity like this, take it,” said Santizo.

As Rosendo prepares for his first year as owner of the farm he is looking for support. A GoFundMe has been set up to help collect donations to kick start his first round of expenses.