For Hispanics, farming is a growth industry
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
Moctezuma is one of a growing number of Hispanic farmers in the nation. Between 1997 and 2002, the number of Hispanic-run farms grew 51 percent. At the same time, the number of farms run by African-Americans and Anglos declined, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Like Moctezuma, many Hispanic farmers are immigrants who picked up the skill in their home countries. Moctezuma’s father and brother work a 130-acre cactus farm called Rancho El Periocolo in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, where Moctezuma was raised.
And for many Hispanic immigrants, owning land is a symbol of prestige, said Mario Delgado, a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development specialist in Georgia, where he is helping to organize a March conference on Hispanic farm operators.