According to a new report released in July by the Center for Rural Affairs, both Nebraska and Missouri are experiencing a decline in the number of farms operated by Latinos, with Missouri witnessing a nearly 37% decline and Nebraska a nearly 44% decline.
"Latino farmers and ranchers in Nebraska and Missouri represent an important segment of the agricultural producing population in both states," says Jon Bailey, research director at CRA and author of the report. "They face many of the same challenges and issues as all farmers and ranchers. They also face unique challenges and issues based on their demographics and the type of farms and ranches they operate," he says.
A full copy of the report can be viewed and downloaded at: http://files.cfra.org/pdf/mo-ne-latino-farmer-report.pdf.
The report highlights selected data from the 2007 USDA Census of Agriculture on several aspects of Latino farmers and ranchers in Missouri and Nebraska, providing a broader view of the current status of Latino farmers and ranchers in both states.
"The focus of this report is to uncover data about Latino farmers and ranchers as a group, and the focus of this project is to use that data to determine what steps USDA should take to better serve Latino farmers and ranchers," explains Bailey.
Some key elements of data in the report include:
• Farms with a Latino principal operator in Missouri are generally smaller than in Nebraska, however, more Nebraska Latino principal operators farm in the smallest category of farm size. In both states, small farms are more likely to be operated by Latinos.
• Latino principal operators in Missouri are in greater numbers in the lower farm economic classifications, while Latino principal operators in Nebraska are in far greater numbers in the highest farm economic classification, likely as a result of farm size.
• A significantly higher percentage of Missouri Latino principal operators are full owners of their farms than in Nebraska. This may also be connected with farm size, i.e., it is relatively easier to be the full owner of a small farm than a farm of several hundred acres.
• Most Latino farm households in Missouri and Nebraska do not make most of their income from farming or ranching. However, a significantly larger number of Nebraska farm households make 75% or more of their income from farming.
• Nebraska Latino principal operators are slightly older than Missouri Latino farmers, but Nebraska also has more young (under 25 years of age) Latino principal operators.
• Latino farmers in both states are involved in traditional agricultural activities—crop and grain farming and beef cattle ranching, with crop and grain farming more popular in Missouri and beef cattle ranching more popular in Nebraska. However, significant portions of Latino farmers in both states are involved in non-traditional agricultural pursuits.