Posted on

After a farmworker in rural Texas died of complications from Covid-19, his family and federal investigators want answers | Food and Environment Reporting Network


OFT-IGNORED ESSENTIAL WORKERS AND PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE STILL TAKING THE BRUNT OF CATASTROPHES FROM COVID-19. Covid-19 is both a health crisis and an economic juggernaut hitting workers the hardest.
We’ve now passed the grim milepost of 200,000 Covid-19 American deaths. Big Ag continues being a huge source of Covid-19 problems. Yet our mainstream media is loathe to cover news unless it has a fresh, unique hook which will garner big ratings.
Taking an admirable journalistic track this thoughtful article from ‘FERN’ delves into the Covid-19 death of a legal, hardworking H2A farmworker from Mexico, Marco Antonio Galvan Gomez, at one of the largest potato enterprises in the USA. The 45,000-acre ‘Larson Farms’ includes mega-potato operations in Idaho, Texas and Colorado. Caleb, Megan & Jim

“Larsen Farms employs more than 400 people and annually recruits roughly 100 H-2A workers who live in a constellation of sixteen trailers and bunkhouses nicknamed La Academia—a reference to a popular Mexican ‘Big Brother’-esque reality TV show. Up to 11 H-2A workers are certified to share one trailer, U.S. Department of Labor documents indicate; during harvest season, overflow workers share motel rooms throughout Dalhart.
https://thefern.org/2020/09/after-a-farmworker-in-rural-texas-died-of-complications-from-covid-19-his-family-and-federal-investigators-want-answers/?utm_source=FERN+Newsletter+Service&utm_campaign=2239cdb26e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_09_08_03_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c95f7f9b8b-2239cdb26e-120511817

After a farmworker in rural Texas died of complications from Covid-19, his family and federal investigators want answers | Food and Environment Reporting Network



Source

Posted on

After a farmworker in rural Texas died of complications from Covid-19, his family and federal investigators want answers | Food and Environment Reporting Network


OFT-IGNORED ESSENTIAL WORKERS AND PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE STILL TAKING THE BRUNT OF CATASTROPHES FROM COVID-19. Covid-19 is both a health crisis and an economic juggernaut hitting workers the hardest.
We’ve now passed the grim milepost of 200,000 Covid-19 American deaths. Big Ag continues being a huge source of Covid-19 problems. Yet our mainstream media is loathe to cover news unless it has a fresh, unique hook which will garner big ratings.
Taking an admirable journalistic track this thoughtful article from ‘FERN’ delves into the Covid-19 death of a legal, hardworking H2A farmworker from Mexico, Marco Antonio Galvan Gomez, at one of the largest potato enterprises in the USA. The 45,000-acre ‘Larson Farms’ includes mega-potato operations in Idaho, Texas and Colorado. Caleb, Megan & Jim

“For eight years, Galvan came to Larsen Farms on an H-2A visa, part of a federal program that allows foreigners to work in the U.S. on temporary contracts. This year, that meant traveling in the middle of a global pandemic that had already hit the rural Panhandle especially hard…

“Larsen Farms employs more than 400 people and annually recruits roughly 100 H-2A workers who live in a constellation of sixteen trailers and bunkhouses nicknamed La Academia—a reference to a popular Mexican ‘Big Brother’-esque reality TV show. Up to 11 H-2A workers are certified to share one trailer, U.S. Department of Labor documents indicate; during harvest season, overflow workers share motel rooms throughout Dalhart.
https://thefern.org/2020/09/after-a-farmworker-in-rural-texas-died-of-complications-from-covid-19-his-family-and-federal-investigators-want-answers/?utm_source=FERN+Newsletter+Service&utm_campaign=2239cdb26e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_09_08_03_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c95f7f9b8b-2239cdb26e-120511817

After a farmworker in rural Texas died of complications from Covid-19, his family and federal investigators want answers | Food and Environment Reporting Network



Source

Posted on

HAULING FULL PALLET BOX OF ORGANIC POTATOES FROM FIELD ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. The last step of our Finnish ‘Juko’

HAULING FULL PALLET BOX OF ORGANIC POTATOES FROM FIELD ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. The last step of our Finnish ‘Juko’ (“Yuko”) Potato Harvester is that is directly fills up hardwood pallet boxes with 2000-pounds of potatoes.
Here, Amy is driving an Oliver 1650 Diesel outfitted with three-point-hitch forks salvaged from an old forklift. She takes up to the road one full box and brings back to the awaiting Juko in the field an empty box where the box-filling ritual is repeated and repeated and repeated. Caleb, Megan & Jim




Source

Posted on

Aroostook County declared a disaster area amid extreme drought


AROOSTOOK COUNTY DECLARED FEDERAL DISASTER AREA THANKS TO RECORD SETTING DROUGHT. This year’s Northern Maine drought coincided precisely with the growing season and has been exacerbated by consistently hot temperatures.
Here in the farming town of Bridgewater, we received a total of 5.27″ of rain during June-July-Aug (and only 0.10″ so far in Sept); The Potato Experiment Farm in Presque Isle – 20 miles to our north got 6.40″ over the same period.
For perspective, a potato crop needs 14″ of water from rain or irrigation to grow; 11″ of that usage demand occurs in July & August during the “Tuber Bulking” stage. Since potato tubers are 20% solids and 80% water any shortage of water will drag down yields considerably.
This marks the THIRD TIME in the last ten years that Maine’s ‘Potato Empire’ has been designated a FEDERAL DISASTER. In both 2011 and 2013 Federal Disasters were declared because of excessive rains during the growing season.
Interestingly, in 2012 we received a Summer’s worth of rain – 11″ here and 14″ in Houlton – in the last three days of June, and then got very little rain in July & August. Statistically, 2012 was a “normal” Summer. Caleb, Megan & Jim
https://bangordailynews.com/2020/09/22/news/aroostook/aroostook-county-declared-a-disaster-area-amid-extreme-drought/

Aroostook County declared a disaster area amid extreme drought



Source

Posted on

DIGGING ‘PRAIRIE BLUSH’ POTATOES ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. As evening approached Saturday we began digging our crop


DIGGING ‘PRAIRIE BLUSH’ POTATOES ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. As evening approached Saturday we began digging our crop of ‘Prairie Blush’ (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/organic-certified-prairie-blush-seed-potatoes/).
Nineteen years ago we discovered a single, beautiful bi-colored – gold and pink – tuber, a clonal variant in a seed lot of ‘Yukon Gold.’ After several years of confirmation by field trialing and lab testing we received official corroboration that this was indeed a new and unique variety. We named it ‘Prairie Blush.’ Morphology studies indicated higher flesh moisture content (lower specific gravity), higher set (number of tubers per hill), and slightly later maturity (four days). The consensus among our customers is ‘Prairie Blush’ is the best-tasting variety they’ve ever come across and that is our experience as well.
In this photo of our Finnish ‘Juko’ potato harvester, spaded-up tubers are being conveyed up the primary lag bed (‘primaries’). Toiling on the perpendicular ‘secondaries’ (from left to right) are Amy (working the ‘hedgehog’ seperator), Cathy (tossing out rocks from the flow of potatoes into the 2000# pallet box, and Ken operating the trip-doored ‘rock bucket’ and saving the odd tuber from a crushing, lonely fate in a rock pile. Out of view, Megan works on the low-to-the-ground trailered cart snatching up small tubers which fell through the cracks. Caleb, Megan & Jim




Source

Posted on

FLAME KILLING POTATOES AT NIGHT ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. Potatoes need to be killed ahead of harvest in order for t

FLAME KILLING POTATOES AT NIGHT ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. Potatoes need to be killed ahead of harvest in order for the skin on the tubers to “set” (lose moisture) and toughen up for the rigors of harvest. Conventional farmers in the West apply Sulfuric Acid to accomplish kill. In the East most spray ‘Reglone’ herbicide (formally called ‘Diquat’). Reglone was banned in Europe for “topkill” and this is the first year European potato farmers are getting by without it.
As organic farmers we opt to use propane flame to top kill. We try to get flaming done ahead of harvest (“digging”) but this year we’re a few days behind. So, we are flaming at night after the day’s digging is done. Caleb, Megan & Jim




Source

Posted on

“THE RUSSIAN PHOTO” by Lottie Hedley. Circa 2010. Today, area schools have closed for the first day of the three-week ‘

“THE RUSSIAN PHOTO” by Lottie Hedley. Circa 2010. Today, area schools have closed for the first day of the three-week ‘Potato Harvest Break.’ So, today is the day we begin digging our crop of organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
This photo, nicknamed by New Zealand photographer Lottie Hedley “The Russian Photo” – for its Bolshevik-reminiscent fervor – is of seven-year-old Amy Gerritsen during our potato harvest a decade ago here in the Big Sky country of Aroostook County, Maine.
Lottie documented our harvest in her series ‘Rural Harvest’ which may be seen here. http://www.lottiehedleyphotography.com/rural-harvest
Now at 17, Amy is our best worker on the Potato Harvester and so her schedule becomes our schedule. Caleb, Megan & Jim




Source

Posted on

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States


“NEW CLIMATE MAPS SHOW A TRANSFORMED UNITED STATES.” Don’t miss this ‘ProPublica’ report with remarkably comprehensive maps and tables.
Keep a firm upper lip, take a deep dive and you will be rewarded with gaining a much more clear picture of localized mighty climate changes in our path ahead.
The clarity of presentation and the granularity is pretty impressive and well worth your time. Please consider this new piece MUST VIEW.
Scroll down the color-coded table of climate impacts and see if your county makes the list of the USA counties to be most impacted. Caleb, Megan & Jim
https://projects.propublica.org/climate-migration/

“According to new data from the Rhodium Group analyzed by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, warming temperatures and changing rainfall will drive agriculture and temperate climates northward, while sea level rise will consume coastlines and dangerous levels of humidity will swamp the Mississippi River valley.

“Taken with other recent research showing that the most habitable climate in North America will shift northward and the incidence of large fires will increase across the country, this suggests that the climate crisis will profoundly interrupt the way we live and farm in the United States. See how the North American places where humans have lived for thousands of years will shift and what changes are in store for your county…

“Taken together, some parts of the U.S. will see a number of issues stack on top of one another — heat and humidity may make it harder to work outside, while the ocean continues to claim more coastal land. The table below ranks the most at-risk counties in the U.S. if all of the perils were combined…”

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States



Source

Posted on

Wildfire dispatch from an Oregon farm | The Counter


FIRST PERSON REPORT FROM ONE FARMHAND OF HOW ‘BEACHIE CREEK FIRE’ IN OREGON CAUSED THEM TO EVACUATE THEIR SANTIAM RIVER FARM. Before she became a farm hand – wanting to learn the farming trade with work experience before starting a farm of her own – Elizabeth Whitman had been a reporter in Arizona.
She put her writing skills to work in this first person report. Elizabeth writes about the nearby forest fires on her farm east of Salem in ‘The Counter.’ Caleb, Megan & Jim

Wildfire dispatch from an Oregon farm


“We were weeding beets late in the afternoon on Labor Day when my coworker Amy asked if we’d received the emergency alert on our phones.
“It warned of ‘hot, dry, and potentially historic’ winds, she said, and something about ignition sources.
“I had not gotten the alert. Nor had another employee who was weeding with us on the 22-acre organic vegetable farm in Oregon where we worked, and where several of us also lived. We agreed that the warning sounded ominous, then returned to pulling pigweed.
“Within an hour, a haze had moved in, filtering the sunlight to a thin pink. That evening, as we sat down for our nightly, socially distanced dinner under a walnut tree, the sun glowed red in the west. To the south, a fog of smoke obscured trees and hills.
“Amy pulled out her phone. Northeast of the farm was a fire of a few hundred acres called the Beachie Creek Fire, she said, scrolling and tapping. Near that was another blaze called the Lionshead Fire…
“Jeff started Persephone Farm in 1985, and Elanor joined in 1990. Over the decades, Jeff has linked his life and soul with the land, or so I’ve gleaned from a draft of a book he is writing about the experience. But in recent years, the farm has struggled financially. Jeff’s health is also declining, and so for the last few seasons, Theo and Erin have managed the farm. This year, COVID-19 hit…
“Around 4 p.m,. I went outside. Rolls of dark, thick clouds clogged the sky to the south. The sun glowed red, again, above a purple horizon. I ran into Erin, who said that Jeff and Elanor wanted to defend the farm with irrigation sprinklers…
“We don’t know when we will return to the farm. The latest updates from the sheriff’s office are hopeful, suggesting the fires can be contained if conditions remain right. As soon as it is safe, we will go back to Persephone, breathe its sweet air, and pick up where we left off.”
https://thecounter.org/wildfire-dispatch-oregon-farm-evacuation/

Wildfire dispatch from an Oregon farm | The Counter



Source

Posted on

Possible sign of life on Venus stirs up heated debate


BREAKING NEWS! DID HUMANS JUST DISCOVER SIGNS-OF-LIFE ON PLANET VENUS? A new report in the journal ‘Nature Astronomy’ has identified the presence of “phosphine” in the Venus atmosphere. Scientists believe if there is phosphine then there must be life forms that made it. Caleb, Megan & Jim

“Venus—a smelly, flammable gas called phosphine that annihilates life-forms reliant on oxygen for survival. Ironically, though, the scientists who today announced sightings of this noxious gas in the Venusian atmosphere say it could be tantalizing—if controversial—evidence of life on the planet next door.

“As far as we know, on rocky planets such as Venus and Earth, phosphine can only be made by life—whether human or microbe…

“‘I immediately freaked out, of course. I presumed it was a mistake, but I very much wanted it to not be a mistake,’ says study co-author Clara Sousa-Silva, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who initially identified phosphine as a potential biosignature.

“Put simply, phosphine shouldn’t be in the Venusian atmosphere. It’s extremely hard to make, and the chemistry in the clouds should destroy the molecule before it can accumulate to the observed amounts. But it’s too early to conclude that life exists beyond Earth’s shores. Scientists caution that the detection itself needs to be verified, as the phosphine fingerprint described in the study could be a false signal introduced by the telescopes or by data processing…

“Venus, the second world from the sun, has long been considered Earth’s twin. It’s about the same size as our home planet, with similar gravity and composition. For centuries, hopeful humans thought its surface might be covered in oceans, lush vegetation, and verdant ecosystems, providing a second oasis for life in the solar system…

“‘Venus is such a complex, amazing system, and we don’t understand it. And it’s another Earth. It probably had an ocean for billions of years, and it’s right there. It’s just a matter of going,’ Gilmore says. ‘We have the technology right now to go into the atmosphere of Venus. It can be done.’”

Possible sign of life on Venus stirs up heated debate



Source