the plow that broke the plains

posted February 19, 2016

The film presents the social and economic history of the Great Plains — from the time of the settlement of the prairies, through the World War I boom, to the years of depression and drought. The first part of the film shows cattle as they grazed on grasslands, and homesteaders who hurried onto the plains and grew large wheat crops. The second part depicts the postwar decline of the wheat market, which resulted in overproduction. Footage shows farm equipment used, then abandoned. The third part shows a dust storm as it rendered a farm useless. Subsequent scenes show farmers as they left their homes and headed west. Department of Agriculture. Farm Security Administration. Information Division. (ca. 1937 – ca. 1942). Note that this is the version without the epilogue.

farm robots

posted June 30, 2013

Rosie the Robot Won’t Serve Your Food, But She’ll Pick It

-Rachel Estabrook, NPR, 26 June 2013.


From manufacturing to cupcake sales, companies are finding that machines can often do the job just as well, or better, than humans. But some tasks – like picking and tending to fruit and vegetable crops – have remained the territory of low-wage laborers.

But labor-starved growers are now eying machines with increasing interest.

That’s partly because the technology has come a long way. New machines use computers and vision sensors to replicate the human ability to handle delicate crops. In recent years that technology has gotten cheaper, making it more feasible for farm use.

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