Production, Yield, and Market Analysis of Produce Raised by Minnesota Hmong American / Immigrant Farmers
Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG), is a 25-year-old nonprofit law center that has helped many thousands of independent family farmers succeed in their struggle to maintain their livelihoods and stay on the land. Hmong American and other immigrant farmers are a prominent presence in the region’s markets and local foods production, but the USDA administers programs, particularly with crop insurance, based largely on commodity crops such as corn and soy beans—not the tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, and field greens that are grown by the vast majority of immigrant farmers. This reality makes it difficult and sometimes impossible for low-income vegetable farmers to participate in government programs that can stabilize their farming and financial lives. A student Research Assistant collected yields, production and market data for non-commodity crops raised by Hmong American and immigrant farmers and reported them in a form that filled the gaps in the statistical tables that drive USDA programs in Minnesota. The results are being used to change USDA policy and enable more low-income immigrant farmers to apply for and participate in the farm programs they need to recover from disasters and move into the mainstream of American agriculture.