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Lee Family Fled Laos, Reaped Harvest of Success as Valley Farmers



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Paul Lee is a second-generation Hmong farmer in Fresno County working to keep his parents’ legacy alive.

Jesse Vad

SJV Water

The Lees were part of a large migration of Hmong families who fled Laos after the United States pulled out of Vietnam. They started off as refugees just trying to survive and found success in the fertile soil of the San Joaquin Valley.

Paul Lee is determined to keep the farm going, even as the availability of water – a basic necessity for his crops – is increasingly difficult as he’s been hit by repeated droughts and regulatory restrictions.

About ‘Rooted in the Valley’

This is the fourth in SJV Water’s series of videos called “Rooted in the Valley,” featuring small family farmers who continue to work the land in spite of all the challenges they face – especially water.

About SJV Water

SJV Water is an independent, nonprofit news site dedicated to covering water in the San Joaquin Valley. Get inside access to SJV Water by becoming a member.