The meat industry has once been concentrated in cities like Chicago and Kansas City. But it had left for small towns in rural areas, which were now struggling to provide the necessary social services to the immigrants who followed. How could we begin to show those demographic changes? And what could we do about the fact that there was no readily available list of the biggest slaughterhouses? This interactive map starts to answer those questions. Continue Reading →
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service predicts that Americans will eat more than 5 billion pounds of turkey in 2013. However, that total is tens of millions of pounds less than last year, and hundreds of millions of pounds less than just six years ago. Continue Reading →
New technologies could help protect farmers, who work in the most deadly occupation in Iowa. Farm fatalities represent more than 30 percent of all occupational fatalities in the state, according to data from the Iowa Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program. Lauren Mills from Iowa Watch takes a look at new devices. Continue Reading →
Grain bins, a common sight for anyone traveling through Iowa and other corn belt states, are a source of contention for agriculture safety specialists. Lack of research means specialists are unable to provide consistent advice to farmers about working in the storage bins. The safety experts are “dropping the ball,” said LaMar Grafft, a rural health and safety specialist. Continue Reading →
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a series of early-November food recalls that include bacteria contaminations and potentially-dangerous undisclosed ingredients. Some of the recalled products were distributed nationwide. Continue Reading →
In October, Modern Farmer magazine published a piece about one Illinois farming community's tribute to Kyle Hendrix, who recently passed away from cancer. Jake Moore, a friend of Hendrix, arranged a tribute featuring a procession of dozens of tractors and other pieces of large farm equipment. As neighbors heard of the tribute, the procession grew until about 60 pieces of equipment were eventually lined up in memory of Hendrix. Photographer Matt Rubel captured the scene. Since then, his photos have gone viral and have been viewed by millions. Continue Reading →
Iowa’s small farms are on their own when it comes to work safety, even though farmers suffer more fatal occupational injuries than any other kind of worker in the state.
Limited Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforcement and coverage favors large farms, leaving the rest on an honors system in which dangerous farm practices fly under the radar until a serious, and often fatal, injury occurs. Continue Reading →
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for overseeing workplace safety, but the organization is handicapped when it comes to dealing with small farms and agriculture sites that handle grain.
OSHA’s federal guidelines prohibit it from enforcing regulations through inspections on both family farms and farms that employ fewer than 10 workers. Consequently, many places left vulnerable to grain-bin accidents are neglected. Continue Reading →
In July, a 55-year-old man working for Premier Cooperative in Sidney, Ill., suffocated and died after becoming trapped in a grain bin filled with corn. His death marked the first grain-bin fatality for Illinois this year, but with expected large crop yields coming, more farmers may be at risk. Continue Reading →
The deadliest year for grain-bin workers on record was 2010, when at least 26 workers died throughout the country, according to grain-bin entrapment data from Purdue University. There were more than 50 total incidents that year. The frequency of accidents was so alarming that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s assistant secretary of labor, David Michaels, sent a letter to thousands of grain storage facility operators throughout the United States. Continue Reading →