Minority-Operated Farms Increasing in Washington County, Reports The Oregonian

The Oregonian's Andrea Castillo reports on the increasing numbers of farms in Washington County that are operated by minorities, many of whom were originally farm workers in the United States. The story highlights the changing face of Oregon agriculture.

Not only do these farmers come from different backgrounds, they are also often farming smaller parcels and continuing to live in town.

Of the county's 1,724 farms, Castillo reports, about 138 are minority-owned, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture. This is up from 17 in 1974. Castillo tells the story of two fo these farmers: Guatemala native Florentin Salazar, former farmworker who has worked in the county for 30 years and now maintains 10 acres of fruits, vegetables, chickens, and lilies near Hillsboro; and Jimmy Thao, a Laotian immigrant who rents 1.5 acres near Hillsboro on which he grows flowers for sale. Thao also works part-time for the Multnomah County Health Department.

The article also notes the contributions of farm incubator programs like the one at Forest Grove's Adelante Mujeres. We visited that program earlier this year and wrote about it and similar Oregon programs in our May e-newsletter. Read that story here.

1000 Friends is fully committed to helping the next generation of Oregon farmers keep our state's economy humming. Learn more about our New Face of Farming program here.

Read the full Oregonian story here.