According to the latest reports, Latino farms are on the decline in Nebraska and Missouri. A report by the Nebraska based Center for Rural Affairs, aided in part by information from the latest agricultural census, revealed a sharp drop in Latino farms from 2002 to 2007.
Overall, Missouri saw a 37 percent drop in Latino farms with Nebraska experiencing a 44 percent decline. While neither state has an enormous number of farms with Latinos as the principal operator, Nebraska has 166 and Missouri 444, the decline is troubling.
Not all Latino farms are disappearing in the two states. Overall small farms saw a substantial increase in Latino principal operators. Nebraska doubled the number of small farms (less than 10 acres) with Latinos as principal operators, while Missouri saw their numbers increase by 18 percent. These increases, however, were not enough to offset the larger demographic shifts.
The decline in Latino farms is troubling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which in recent months has sought to emphasize diversity in agriculture. The last several years have seen the USDA sued by a number of minority farmers who have advocated discriminatory lending practices. The drop in Latino farms in these two states serves as an indicator that the USDA has a long way to go still.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer