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Farming is at the very soul of the United States. From the shores of the Atlantic to the prairies of the Midwest and the Great Plains the image of the yeoman farmer permeates American history. In the greater Southwest those English-speaking farmers would encounter their Spanish-speaking counterparts in the 1850s. Those civilian vecinos had, served as the vanguard of the Spanish empire establishing towns, farms, and ranches in what would become California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It was in this milieu that the Rio Grande region was settled in the 1750s. A century and a half later, following the construction of railroads and irrigation systems the descendent of those first settlers were joined by new farmers speaking a polyglot of languages. Here at the beginning of the 20th century the "Magic Valley" was born. The guarantee of successful year-round farming enticed farming families to abandon their farms in temperate states and flock via train to the international border between the United States and Mexico. The Fikes of Ohio, and the Rorks of Nebraska were two such families who sought to make good on that promise. From them the union of Willard Fike and Anna Rork created over four generations a strong, sustainable, award-winning farming family. Farming involves long days, often pre-dawn until well after sundown. It is not glamorous. It is risky and unpredictable. These challenges are compounded by evolving regulations and geopolitics regarding tariffs and trade imbalances which can thwart even the most carefully planned plantings and harvests. It is no wonder that American family-owned farms are dwindling. Yet, the Fike Family is prospering as it begins its fourth generation of farming. In 2017 students in the seventh-annual study of an Edinburg-based farming family discovered a resiliency among the Fikes that is largely unknown in the 21st century.
.PDF, 214 Pages, Illustrations, Maps, Photographs, Genealogical tables
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools Program (CHAPS); Gonzalez, Juan L.; Summy, Kenneth R.; Skowronek, Russell K.; Bacha-Garza, Roseann; Acosta, Eric; Alejos, Jackqueline; Avalos, Criselda; Berg, Evan; and Cardenas, Priscilla, "Fike Family Farm: A Porción of Edinburg" (2018). Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools (CHAPS) Publications. 2.