Farm Progress

The photos that changed child labor laws. A risk loving winemaker. GMOs and genital baldness. iPad detects fertilizer residue? Hannibal Lecter of roadkill. Farm scars. Prisons and ag products.

Chris Bennett

April 11, 2013

2 Min Read

1. The photos that changed US child labor laws

Photographer Lewis Hine's left a legacy of pictures he took of children working in U.S. industry in grueling conditions at the beginning of the 20th century — many of them in the fields of agriculture.

2. The Fearless, Risk-Loving Winemaker

Somewhere in the manicured farmlands of Napa Valley, a 52-year-old winemaker named Abe Schoener stood in a puny and weed-choked tract of land surrounded by 40 gray and contorted barren vines, which he surveyed with paternal satisfaction. “My view when I started leasing this was, It’s 60-year-old-vine sauvignon blanc,” he said, smiling. “How bad could it be?”

3. GMO pickle claim leaves you scratching your head

Eating lunch while catching up on the news, the headline “Monsanto GMO Cucumbers Cause Genital Baldness” made me a choke on my sweet gherkins. A six-month study revealed that Monsanto-developed GMO cucumbers had resulted in total groin hair loss and chaffed “sensitive areas.” Arrrgh.

4. What next? iPad detects nitrates?

The organic matter sensor is very intriguing. There’s a stainless steel probe magnetically attached to its base, and you plunge this probe into a fruit or vegetable to detect the nitrate quantities left behind by synthetic fertilizers.

5. Meet the Hannibal Lecter of roadkill

Arthur Boyt, 73, is quite likely the leading roadkill eater on the planet. Boyt, a taxidermist who keeps a freezer stocked with roadkill of every stripe, speaks with sledgehammer honesty: There is nothing — absolutely nothing — he won't eat.

6. Buried and alive after 11 days

This video shows the dramatic moment a farmer discovered sheep still alive after 11 days buried under a huge snowdrift. Footage shows some of the sheep moving their heads around with their bodies still under the snow.

7. On the Job: Farm Scars

Every day, nearly 250 agricultural workers suffer an injury that causes them to miss work, and 5 percent of those injuries result in permanent impairment.

8. Honey bee alarm sounded as losses mount

On Feb. 8 — UC Davis Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen predicted California almond growers might not have enough honey bees for pollination. He sounded the alarm.

9. Top ten agricultural law developments of 2012

Legal issues continue to shape American agriculture and the involvement of the legal system in agriculture likely will continue to grow.

10. Forcing prisons, schools to buy Cali ag products?

A California legislator wants to require the state's prisons, schools and other public institutions to buy local agriculture products to support California farmers.

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