Italian Mexicans - Economy



The Italian Mexicans are primarily known for their participation in the dairy industry. In fact, a well-known line of dairy products—Chipilo Brand—was once produced exclusively by one of the dairy cooperatives owned and operated by farmers in Chipilo, Puebla. These farmers have been small-scale capitalist producers since their arrival in Mexico, producing primarily for a market but always retaining some production for household consumption. In the late twentieth century over 75 percent of the households in Chipilo, Puebla, receive all or part of their income through dairy farming, and virtually all of the inhabitants of La Perla de Chipilo, Guanajuato, gain their income through some aspect of dairying. Farms have herds ranging between 10 and 125 head of cattle (an average of between 25 and 50 head) that are supported by the intensive (often irrigated) cultivation of alfalfa and maize. Many farms use mechanized milking techniques and other forms of technology in their enterprises. Most households are involved in dairying, but they also tend to have multiple income streams; many of their members are considerably educated and are employed in various types of jobs. Nevertheless, the identity of Italian Mexican communities is still anchored to dairying as a way of life. In fact, many of the satellite communities established since the 1930s formed so that community members who could not farm in Chipilo, Puebla, owing to a lack of available land, could pursue a dairy-farming career elsewhere. Although the Chipilo, Puebla, community might be considered to have been, at least in the past, a type of middleman minority, satellite communities tend to be made up of independent farmers who do not participate in ethnic economic or political networks either within or outside the community.


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