Listen to Brent and Sophie Nagao's story. Audio Producer: Laura Bult

Small farmers like Brent and Sophie Nagao have been hit hard by the recession and unfavorable agricultural policies. They have owned a small fruit farm in Selma, California for the last four decades. The economic downturn has made the industry unprofitable, raising the price of fuel and equipment. Harsh immigration laws have also made it difficult for the Nagaos and other small farmers to find laborers, many of whom have fled for fear of deportation. Still, the Nagaos say the farm is “in their blood” and refuse to leave the land, like many of their neighbors have done. Their son Evan will be the family’s fourth generation farm owner, but they all have outside jobs to try and make ends meet.

 

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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson

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