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Commercial growers in the East operate on a relatively small land base with production costs that are generally higher per unit of crop output. This places them at a competitive disadvantage against larger commodity growers from other states where production costs are comparatively lower and the market window may be longer (Govindasamy et al. 2007). Encroachment of farmland by development coupled with the difficulty to maintain profitability create a chal­ lenge for many farming enterprises, especially for agronomic crops such as com and soybeans that require large acre­ age and lower per acre cost of production to remain viable (Mendonca et al. 2006). Success in commercial farming in the East will depend largely on the ability of the growers to focus on higher-value specialty crops, such as ethnic produce targeted at specific niche markets, for favorable competitive advantages (Tubene 2001; Govindasamy et al. 2006). According to the most recent 2000 U.S. Census Bureau report, Hispanics and Asians continue to be the two fastest-growing minorities in the U.S (U.S. Census Bureau 2000). There are 45.5 million Hispanics living in the United States, accounting for 15 percent of the U.S. population. The population growth among Asians and Hispanics is be­ ing fueled largely by immigration. The Hispanic or Latino population grew from about nine percent of the country's population in 1990 to 13 percent in 2000, a total of 35 million people. According to the Census Bureau the Hispanic population mushroomed by 58 percent from 1990 to 2000, making it the fastest-growing minority group in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau 1990, 2000).


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