Although the humber of total farms has stayed about the same, Washington County's minority-operated farms have increased eightfold since 1974.
In 1974, Washington County had 17 farms with minority operators. That number rose steadily over the years, especially in Latino- and Asian-operated farms. By the 1997 census, the county knew of 45 minority-operated farms. Then in 2002 the number skyrocketed to 128 minority-owned farms.
Dean Moberg, a Washington County district conservationist for the USDA, said another reason for the increase is Oregon's food revolution, which has allowed minorities and immigrants to start small farms. "People want local food," he said. "That really encourages small farms and, a lot of times, organic farms. It helps minority farmers get over that stumbling block of not having a huge amount of capital."
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