New Latino Farmers in the Midwest: The Case of Southwest Michigan
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Our paper is, "New Latino Farmers in the U.S. Heartland: An Example of a Growing Trend in U.S.Agriculture." It is a change that is affecting the economic well-being, social, and cultural arena of rural America. We will address the major findings of our USDA-funded study on the how Tejano farmworkers and Mexican immigrants from Chicago are becoming small farmers in southwestern Michigan. The study is based on a qualitative survey conducted in Van Buren County with 30 out of 32 Latino farmers in the county. Specifically, we will discuss how these farmers are using their social capital to enter the farming business. We will show that they use very little government assistance and provide the reasons for this practice. Our presentation will also demonstrate that Latinos, in general, are becoming new farmers across the United States, challenging the myth that they are only farmworkers.