Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Minority farmers, especially Hispanics, on the rise

While recent studies have shown that the overall number of farmers in America is on the decline, the number of minority farmers, especially Hispanics, is on the rise, growing by 15 percent between 2007 to 2012, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture, taken every five years. The number of minority farmers "is defined as principal operators who are Hispanic, American Indian, black and Asian," Tim Marema reports for the Daily Yonder. One of the pressing issues of immigration reform is the high number of undocumented workers in agriculture jobs.

Minority farmers increased by 21,000 from 2007 to 2012, the census found. Hispanic farmers increased by 11,000, or 22 percent, with a total of 67,000 Hispanic principal farm operators in 2012. Asian farmers increased by 2,485 to 13,699, an increase of 22 percent, African American farmers increased by 9 percent to 13,700, and American Indian farmers increased by 9 percent to 37,857. "Overall, people of color were the principal operators of about 7.3 percent of the nation’s farms in 2012," Marema writes. "That’s up about 1.2 points from the 2007 survey." (Read more) The full report is scheduled to be released in May. To read the preliminary report click here.

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