Colony Management

    ‘Good fortune aside, the prosperity of the colony could not have continued were it not for Kishi's business and organizational skills.  Before he came to Texas Kishi had never farmed rice, but he knew enough to bring people who had.  And when he switched to farming vegetables, Kishi sensibly set aside land in order to experiment with a variety of crops to see which were best suited for his soil.  He realized that the $10,000 a year he spent for fertilizer was a good investment and that the experts he hired were necessary to make his farm successful.  At one point Kishi employed an accountant to keep track of his books, a general manager to run the farm and a private secretary to help with his own duties.  Kishi even hired a marketing expert who traveled to St. Louis, Chicago and cities further east to get the best prices for the colony's produce.  In all that he did Kishi combined a keen sense of business with a flair for innovation.  In his first years in Texas, for example, he used the technique of contour levee farming. Instead of laying out levees in simple checkerboard fashion, he built them to follow the contours of the land.’[1]

    ‘Although other Japanese Texan colonies certainly knew of the Kishi colony, little contact was maintained.  Nonetheless, when rice farms run by the Onishi’s and others collapsed in the mid-1920's, some of the Japanese who were adversely affected turned to the Kishi colony for work.  Because vegetable farming involved more time-consuming and complex labor than large-scale rice farming, there were always enough jobs.  In fact, during the 1920's the Terry community attracted increasing numbers of Mexican Americans and French Americans who found work on the Kishi farm.’[1]