Latinx Comprise Over 80% of Farm Labor, Less Than 6% Ownership
New data shows that farming in the U.S. is enmeshed with both racism and capitalism in a way that has had a profound impact on who owns, accesses, and benefits from farmland. Dr. Megan Horst, an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, found that agriculture today appears to be just as segregated as it was a century ago, with farmers of color at a significant disadvantage. From 2012 to 2014, white people comprised over 97% of non-farming landowners, 96% of owner-operators, and 86% of tenant operators. They also generated 98% of all farm-related income from land ownership and 97% of the income that comes from operating farms. Meanwhile, farmers of color (Black, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, and those reporting more than one race) comprised less than 3% of non-farming landowners and less than 4% of owner-operators. They were more likely to be tenants than owners; they also owned less land and smaller farms, and generated less wealth from farming than their white counterparts. And, Latinx farmers comprised about 2% of non-farming landowners and about 6% of owner-operators and tenant operators, well below their 17% representation in the U.S. population. They also comprised over 80% of farm laborers, a notoriously under-compensated, difficult, and vulnerable position in U.S. farming. Horst says what’s needed is a radical transformation of the entire U.S. food system. More here.