Dick Humes squinted and sweat as he moved down a row of corn. He sliced through the husk with a metal hook in his right hand, snapped the ear from its stalk with his left, and threw it over his shoulder into a wagon rolling alongside him.
Every other second, the corn hit the floor of the wagon with a thud. Humes was setting a steady pace for the men’s 50-and-older division at the 34th annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition.
While farmers across the Midwest harvest billions of bushels of corn using giant machines called combines, the competitors at this contest opted for a more primitive technology: their hands.
Vesicular Stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects cattle, horses, and swine and occasionally sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas. Humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, but is rare.
Credit Drs. Brent Thompson and Fred Bourgeois / Colorado Department of Agriculture
Over 320 properties have been quarantined in 14 counties along Colorado's Front Range and eastern plains since the start of an outbreak of a virus mainly affecting horses. The outbreak of vesicular stomatitis began in Texas in May 2014, and was reported in Colorado in July of the same year. As the number of animals and the geographic area continues to grow, the economic impact on Colorado is beginning to take shape.
Government regulators have approved a new generation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans. They're the latest weapon in an arms race between farmers and weeds, and the government's green light is provoking angry opposition from environmentalists.