Abstract

In 1942 over 110,000 Japanese Americans were evacuated from the West Coast to ten inland, barbed wire-enclosed relocation centers in the name of national security. Agriculture was a key component of the eight arid to semiarid centers located in the western United States. Each center’s agricultural program included produce for human consumption, feed crops, and livestock. Some centers also grew seed, ornamental, and war crops. Evacuees raised and consumed five types of livestock and sixty-one produce varieties, including many traditional foods. Seasonal surpluses were preserved, shipped to other centers, or sold on the open market. Short growing seasons, poor soils, initially undeveloped lands, pests, equipment shortages, and labor issues hampered operations. However, imprisoned evacuee farmers proved that diverse agricultural programs could succeed in the harsh settings primarily because of labor-intensive farming methods, ingenuity, and the large markets provided by the centers. These agricultural programs played major roles in feeding, providing meaningful employment, and preparing evacuees for life outside the centers, and readied lands for post-war "homesteaders."

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.

NOTES

1 Roger Daniels, Concentration Camps: North America Japanese in the United States and Canada during World War II (Malabar, Fl.: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, Inc., 1981);
Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Personal Justice Denied (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997);
Jeffrey F. Burton et al., Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002);
Karl Lillquist, "Imprisoned in the Desert: The Geography of World War II-Era, Japanese American Relocation Centers in the Western United States," http://www.cwu.edu/~geograph/faculty/lillquist_files/ja_relocation_cover.html (accessed Mar. 31, 2009).
2 Neal Miller and Robert C. Grieser, "The Evolution of Prison Industries," in A Study of Prison Industry: History, Components, and Goals (College Park, Md.: American Correctional Association, 1986), 2-4;
Wayne L. Connelley et al., "Can Prison Farming Be Profitable? The Case of Arizona Correctional Industries," Agribusiness 9 (Mar. 1993): 258-59.
3 William E. Tydeman, "The Landscape of Incarceration: Idaho’s Old Penitentiary," Idaho Yesterdays 38 (Summer 1994): 11-12;
Judith Johnson, "Crisis in Corrections: Penitentiaries in the Far Southwest During the Great Depression," New Mexico Historical Review 66 (Jan. 1994): 40;
David M. Oshinsky, "Worse Than Slavery": Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice (New York: Free Press, 1996), 135-55, 224;
John Vodicka, "Prison Plantation: The Story of Angola," Southern Exposure 6 (Fall/Winter 1978): 32-38.
4 Connelley et al., "Can Prison Farming Be Profitable?" 258-59.
5 J. L. De Witt, Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942: Final Report (Washington, DC: GPO, 1943), 79, 86;
Masakazu Iwata, Planted in Good Soil: The History of the Issei in United States Agriculture, 2 vols. (New York: Peter Lang, 1992);
Eric Walz, "From Kumamoto to Idaho: The Influence of Japanese Immigrants on the Agricultural Development of the Interior West," Agricultural History 74 (Spring 2000): 404-18.
6 Eric Walz, "Japanese Settlement in the Intermountain West, 1882-1946," in Guilt by Association: Essays on Japanese Settlement, Internment, and Relocation in the Rocky Mountain West, ed. Mike Mackey (Powell, Wyo.: Western History Publications, 2001), 1-24;
De Witt, Final Report, 79, 86.
7 De Witt, Final Report, 3-49.
Personal Justice Denied, 180-84, 191-212.
8 De Witt, Final Report, 51;
Dillon S. Myer, Uprooted Americans: The Japanese Americans and the War Relocation Authority During World War II (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1971), 6;
Milton S. Eisenhower, The President is Calling (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1974), 113, 115.
9 Carl J. Thye, "The Bureau Reclaims its Own," Reclamation Era 33 (Apr. 1947): 90-94;
Harlan D. Unrau, The Evacuation and Relocation of Persons of Japanese Ancestry During World War II:A Historical Study of the Manzanar War Relocation Center (Washington, DC: National Park Service, 1996), 123-85;
Burton et al., Confinement and Ethnicity, 59, 101, 215, 259.
10 Wendell W. Palmer, "Closing Report, Agricultural Section, Central Utah Project, Topaz, Utah," Sec. B3, Reel 16, Field Basic Documentation (hereafter FBD) 1945, Records of the War Relocation Authority (hereafter WRA), 1942-1946, RG 210,
Unrau, Evacuation and Relocation, 123-85;
Burton et al., Confinement and Ethnicity, 68;
Stan Turner, The Years of Harvest: A History of the Tule Lake Basin, 3 rd ed. (Eugene, Ore.: Spencer Creek Press, 2002), 109, 121;
Lawrence McMillan in discussion with the author, Apr. 11, 2003, Granada, Colo., notes in possession of author.
11 For more information on the overall goals of the relocation center agricultural programs, see, Dillon S. Myer, "Policies Governing Agricultural Production and Utilization," Poston Official Bulletin, July 11, 1942, 1-3;
WR A, Agriculture Handbook (Supplementing Manual Section 40.1) (Washington, DC: GPO, 1943).
Glenn T. Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center Agricultural Section Final Report," Reel 63;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. A1;
William C. Sharp, "Agriculture in Poston: 1942-1945. Colorado River Relocation Center, Poston, Arizona," p. 1, Reel 32;
WRA, "Historical Report, Operations Division Agricultural Section, Granada Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado," p. 1, Reel 54;
WRA, "Final Project Report, Operations Division, Agriculture Section, Gila River Project," p.1, Sec. 2, Reel 43, FBD 1945;
William T. Jarrett, "General Outline and History of the Agricultural Program at Tule Lake Center," p. 1, Reel 114;
Horace R. McConnell and Henry A. Hill, "Agriculture Section, Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California," p. 1, Reel 78;
Louis E. Rice and Rhuel D. Beebout, "Report of the Agriculture Section, Minidoka Relocation Center, Hunt, Idaho," p. 2, Reel 89, FBD 1946, Records of the WRA, 1942-1946, RG 210, NARAI.
12 Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," 8;
WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," 2;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 10;
McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 1-2;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 2;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. A1, 2;
"Frost Terror Worries Farmers," Daily Tulean Dispatch, Aug. 20, 1942, 2.
Eiichi E. Sakauye, Heart Mountain: A Photo Essay (San Mateo, Calif.: Self-Published, 2000), 149.
13 D. Wynne Thorne, "Irrigated Farming in Arid and Semi-Arid Temperate Zones," in Soil, Water, and Crop Production, ed. D. Wynne Thorne and Marlowe D. Thorne (Westport, Conn.: AVI Publishing Company, Inc., 1979), 238-40;
C. Wiley Hinman and Jack W Hinman, The Plight and Promise of Arid Land Agriculture (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), 46.
14 Sharp, "Colorado River Relocation Center," 10-11, 38;
Burton et al., Confinement and Ethnicity, 68;
WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," 8;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 20-21, 26;
"Extensive Crop Damage Caused by Hailstorm;
Delay in Harvest Seen," Heart Mountain Sentinel, June 17, 1944, 1;
"Farm Crops Damaged by Hail, Frost," Heart Mountain Sentinel, Oct. 7, 1944, 1.
15 Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," 19, 26;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. C1;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 22, 41, 74, 101, 114-15;
"Thousands of Hot Caps Dot Project Farm: Panorama Unfamiliar in Wyoming," Heart Mountain Sentinel, June 10, 1944, 8.
Tulelake, California (accessed on May 20, 2009)
Sakauye, Heart Mountain, 48, 50.
16 Sharp, "Colorado River Relocation Center," 4;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 5-6, 21, 25;
"Agriculture Dept. Uses Discarded Newspapers," Poston Chronicle, June 26, 1943, 1;
Burton et al., Confinement and Ethnicity, 222, 225;
"Lath House Planned for Nursery Dept.," Official Daily (Poston, Ariz.) Press Bulletin, July 28, 1942, 1.
17 McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 2;
"Unusual Weather Dangers Crops at Local Farm," Manzanar Free Press, June 12, 1943, 1;
Unrau, Evacuation and Relocation, 442, 562.
18 Lillquist, "Imprisoned in the Desert";
Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," 6-7, 30;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 22, 49, 60;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 1, 17;
McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 4;
Audrie Girdner and Anne Loftis, The Great Betrayal: The Evacuation of the Japanese-Americans During World War II (London: Collier-Macmillan Ltd., 1969), 232;
"Raise 2000 Acres of Vegetables Here," Daily Tulean Dispatch, June 24, 1943, 4.
19 WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," Appendix;
"Agriculture," Manzanar Free Press, Mar. 20, 1943, 4;
Sharp, "Colorado River Relocation Center," 33;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 20-21;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 3;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 78, 87, 103, 114-15;
"Coyote Traps Laid at Poultry Farm," Poston Chronicle, May 18, 1944, 4;
"Beware of Poultry Traps at Farm," Poston Chronicle, Dec. 9, 1944, 4;
McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 12;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. C6.
20 Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," 14, 19-21, 27;
Sharp, "Colorado River Relocation Center," 35-36;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 23-24, 72-73;
WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," Appendix;
McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 14;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Secs. A, C5;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 11.
21 Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," 14, 19-21, 27;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 23-24, 72-73;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sees. A, C5;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 11.
22 McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 6;
"Future Meals Depend on Resident Farm Help Now," Topaz Times, June 15, 1943, 2.
23 Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 39, 45, 50;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 2, 4-5, 10;
WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," 5;
WRA, The Evacuated People: A Quantitative Description (Washington, DC: GPO, 1946), 17, 168;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. A;
US Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1957 (Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1960), Series D, 654-68.
24 Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," 15-17;
McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 15;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 37;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. A;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 3, 5;
"Residents Save Huge Crop at Tule Lake," Poston Chronicle, Nov. 12, 1943, 1-2;
Sakauye, Heart Mountain, 51.
25 Mike Mackey, Heart Mountain: Life in Wyoming’s Concentration Camp (Powell, Wyo.: Western History Publications, 2000), 134-35;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 135;
"Crop Pilfering Causes Shortage: Severe Penalties to be Imposed," Gila News-Courier, May 11, 1943, 3.
26 Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 8;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 25-26.
27 WRA, "Gila River Project," 5, 25-26;
Japanese American National Museum, "The Camps," http://www.janm.org/projects/clasc/map.htm (accessed Feb. 21, 2007);
WRA, Evacuated People, 17;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. A2;
WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," 5, Appendix;
"4-H Club," Daily Tulean Dispatch, July 7, 1942, 3;
"To Educate Farmers," Daily Tulean Dispatch, July 4, 1942, 5;
"Ag. Course May be Started," Poston Chronicle, Feb. 20, 1943, 3;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 10, 29-30;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 7-8;
"Action Devised for Agriculture by Mathiesen," Official Daily Press Bulletin, Oct. 20, 1942, 1;
Patricia N. Limerick, Something in the Soil: Legacies and Reckonings in the New West (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000), 200-13;
Sakauye, Heart Mountain, 47;
Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, 231;
Robert T. Hayashi, Haunted by Waters: A Journey Through Race and Place in the American West (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007), 86.
28 Lillquist, "Imprisoned in the Desert";
McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 1,2, 16.
29 WRA, "Gila River Project," 18, plus tables, Sec. 2, 4;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 4;
"Tule Vegetables Sent to Project," Topaz Times, Dec. 11, 1943, 1;
"Vegetables Arrive From Tule Lake," Minidoka Irrigator, Oct. 31, 1942, 3;
H. R. McConnell, "Agricultural Division Annual Report Calendar Year 1943," Manzanar, California, pp. 2-3, Reel 76, FBD 1945, Records of the WRA, 1942-1946, RG 210, NARA I;
"Rivers Exports More Produce," Gila News-Courier, Jan. 14, 1943, 3;
"Newell Supplies Poston with Vegetables," Poston Chronicle, Aug. 21, 1943, 3;
"75 Carloads Leave Gila," Gila News-Courier, May 6, 1943, 5;
"Tsukemono Pickling Plant in Full Operation Here," Daily Tulean Dispatch, Jan. 9, 1943, 1;
"64 Cars of Produce Shipped to Centers," Daily Tulean Dispatch, Oct. 2, 1943, 1;
"Vegetables Shipped," Daily Tulean Dispatch, Aug. 31, 1942, 1;
"Ship Local Vegetables," Daily Tulean Dispatch, Aug. 21, 1943,1.
30 WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," Appendix;
Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," 17, 27;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 29, 43, 122-25;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. C1;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 3, 6;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 9;
"Heart Mountain Farm Crop to be Canned," Heart Mountain Sentinel, Aug. 28, 1943, 8;
Unrau, Evacuation and Relocation, 560;
Burton et al., Confinement and Ethnicity, 165;
Sakauye, Heart Mountain, 56;
"Tsukemono Pickling Plant";
"Shortages Sabotage Vegetable Crop," Gila News-Courier, Dec. 2, 1942, 3;
Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, 230-31.
31 Takeichi Kadani, "Farm Expansion Plans Proceed Despite Delays," Poston Chronicle, Apr. 18, 1943, 1;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 12;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 46-47.
32 WRA, "Gila River Project," 15;
Alexander H. Leighton, The Governing of Men: General Principles and Recommendations Based on Experience at Japanese Relocation Camp (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1945), 146;
Unrau, Evacuation and Relocation, 564-65;
Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, 234.
33 Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," G1;
WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," 10;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 6-7;
"Local Farm Products Sold," Heart Mountain Sentinel, Mar. 21, 1945,8.
34 Sharp, "Colorado River Relocation Center," 50-51;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 9;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. C3.
35 Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Secs. C5, C6;
McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 7-8;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 8-9;
Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, 233.
36 WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," 12-13;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. C5;
"30 Head of Beef Cattle Sent to Heart Mountain," Granada Pioneer, Feb. 12, 1944, 1;
"Cattle Raising, Sale of Alfalfa Discussed," Granada Pioneer, June 21, 1944, 1.
37 WRA, "Gila River Project," tables;
WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," 13-14.
38 WRA, "Gila River Project," 18-22;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 94, 95, 98, 110, 101;
Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," 22, 29;
McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 8-10;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 13;
Mine Okubo, Citizen 13660 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1983), 196.
39 McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center," 11-12;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. C4;
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center," 10.
40 WRA, "Granada Relocation Center," Appendix;
Sharp, "Colorado River Relocation Center," 36;
Jarrett, Tule Lake Center, 8;
WRA, "Gila River Project," 20;
Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," 22;
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center," 103-105, 117-18;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. C6.
41 Burton et al., Confinement and Ethnicity, 56-57;
Hartman, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center";
Palmer, "Central Utah Project";
Sharp, "Colorado River Relocation Center";
WRA, "Granada Relocation Center";
WRA, "Gila River Project";
Jarrett, "Tule Lake Center";
McConnell and Hill, "Manzanar Relocation Center";
Rice and Beebout, "Minidoka Relocation Center."
42 Thye, "The Bureau Reclaims its Own," 90-94;
"Farm Land Returned to Bureau," Minidoka Irrigator, Feb. 3, 1945, 1;
"Farmland at Heart Mountain Will Revert to Reclamation," Heart Mountain Sentinel, Feb. 24, 1945, 6;
"Farm Lands Leased to ’Outsiders’: Agriculture Terminates as Local Farmers Seek All Fertile Acres Developed," Heart Mountain Sentinel, Mar. 24, 1945, 1;
Beryl G. Churchill, Dams, Ditches, and Water: A History of the Shoshone Reclamation Project (Cody, Wyo.: Rustler Printer and Publishing, 1979), 88-90;
Burton et al., Confinement and Ethnicity, 207;
Turner, Years of Harvest, 303-24;
Indian Claims Commission, Docket Number 236-A, 236-B, Findings of Fact 25 (1971): 260-77, http://digital.library.okstate.edu/icc/v25/v25toc.html (accessed Oct. 10, 2006);
Ruth Y. Okimoto, "Sharing a Desert Home: Life on the Colorado River Indian Reservation, Poston, Arizona, 1942-1945," News from Native California (a special report) (2001): 15-17;
Unrau, Evacuation and Relocation, 799-820;
Jane Wehrey, Voices From This Long Brown Land: Oral Recollections of Owens Valley Lives and Manzanar Pasts (New York: Palgrave, 2006), 13;
Leonard J. Arrington, The Price of Prejudice: The Japanese-American Relocation Center in Utah During World War II (Delta, Utah: Topaz Museum, 1997), 55;
Lawrence McMillan in discussion with the author, Apr. 11, 2003,
43 Charles Creech in discussion with the author, Apr. 12, 2003, Granada, Colo., notes in possession of author;
Palmer, "Central Utah Project," Sec. A4;
Les and Nora Bovee in discussion with the author, June 18, 2003, Powell, Wyo., notes in possession of author;
Bessie M. Shrontz Roberts-Wright, Hunt for Idaho: Evacuees 1942-1945 and Homesteaders 19471949 TP Minidoka Prisoner of War Camp 1942-1945 (np: Self-Published, 1994);
Turner, Years of Harvest, 306-17;
Robert Stone in discussion with the author, Dec. 20, 2002, Sacaton, Ariz.,
Okimoto, "Sharing a Desert Home," 18.
44 Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Personal Justice Denied; WRA, Evacuated People, 17.
45 Sakauye, Heart Mountain, 50;
Arrington, Price of Prejudice, 49.