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Demographics of Farm Operators: Ethnicity and Race

Massachusetts Agricultural Census 2012

The Massachusetts farm population has been predominantly white.  In 2002, 98.7 percent of the principal farm operators were white. That percentage changed little over the past decade, dropping slightly to 98.4 percent in 2007 and 97.5 percent in 2012. With such a dominant percentage of principal farm operators, it is difficult to provide a useful visual of the distributions by race. In Figure 6.2, we show the distribution of principal farm operators for races other than white. The number of black or African-American farm operators has grown over the past decade, from 23 in 2002 to 80 in 2012. African-American farm operators now represent just over 1 percent of all Massachusetts principal farm operators, an increase from 0.4 percent in 2007. How does Massachusetts compare to the U.S. as a whole? The U.S. percentage was 1.5 percent for African-American principal farm operators in 2012 an increase from the 1.4 percent in 2007.  The number of Asian principal farm operators in Massachusetts has also grown, from 19 (0.7 percent) in 2002 to 71 (0.9 percent) in 2012. Asian farm operators represented 0.6 percent of the U.S. principal farm operators in 2012. There has also been an increase in multi-racial principal farm operators during the past decade, from 16 in 2002 to 29 in 2012. Farm operators of other races now represent 2.5 percent of Massachusetts farm operators, an increase from 1.6 percent in 2007.