The Exceptional One Percent: US Farmworker and Business Owner

Joseph [Unknown], Michael J Pisani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper documents the exceptional confluence between employment as a US farmworker and business owner. Hispanics comprise the overall majority (79.7%) of US farmworkers with two-thirds (66.6%) identifying as Mexican. Utilizing the National Agricultural Workers Survey (1989-2009) conducted annually by the US Department of Labor, we explore the characteristics and determinants of these unique farmworker/business owners. Approximately 1% (or about 10,000) US farmworkers are business owners either in the US or in their native homeland. Both Hispanics (53.0%) and non-Hispanics (47.0%) form this unique subset, though Hispanic farmworkers are underrepresented in this business owner subset given their relatively high proportion of all US farmworkers. Implications for business growth, entrepreneurship, and economic development abound where even in the most trying of occupations entrepreneurial outcomes may emerge. Two case studies outline possible pathways to business formation for agricultural workers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
Issue number2
StateAccepted/In press - 2016


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