Native Americans: A Major Force in American Agriculture
Condensed by Native Village
The first accurate count of Native farmers and ranchers reveals Native Americans are a major force in American agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2007 Census is the first ever to count Native Americans in the field.
While The National Agricultural Statistics Service did its best to count Indian farmers, the report itself concedes it probably missed more than a few.
"I'm hearing from lots of people that
they weren't counted," said Wilson
Halwood, a Diné soil technician.
"Finally, [though], we have some numbers
to plug in." Those numbers are
needed for grants and financial
The result was
Halwood attributes the loss to neglecting good conservation practices, like rotating crops and pastures. "We haven't been kind to our Mother Earth," he said. "We're all trying to see how much we can get out of her without putting anything back in."
farms also tended to be small
main Navajo crop isn't a plant; it's
For every Native farm counted by the
census, dozens more farms are small, like the Kuwunvana family's
half-acre of blue corn near Sichomovi,
Ariz. The Kuwunvanas' patch doesn't
qualify as a farm under the census
because they don't sell their produce.
But it does keep the family in corn
through the winter.
Graphics: Heather's Animations
Backgrounds: Robert Kaufman Fabrics: http://www.robertkaufman.com/
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