Document Type

Book Chapter






Food Science | Food Studies


This chapter addresses why immigrant farmers are so unlikely to participate in USDA direct financial assistance programs, despite immigrant farmers’ growth as a new group of farmers and particularly as a group that the USDA declares they want to support. We contend that the standardization of practices and bureaucracy inherent in receiving USDA assistance stands in stark opposition to the agrarian norms and practices of immigrant farmers and hinders their participation in USDA opportunities. The requirements of standardization help to maintain a racialized class boundary in US agriculture today, playing a large role in preventing immigrant farmers from moving up the agricultural ladder. While monitoring and recording farmers’ activities is necessary at some level for the USDA to assure that funds are used appropriately, the extent to which farmers are asked to track activities and comply with standardization is impossible for most immigrant farmers. Furthermore, if their different practices and limited literacy and linguistic abilities are not considered, these farmers will never be able to take full advantage of the programs they so desperately need to succeed.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.