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E. Agricultural Scientists Work to Improve Farm Labor Practices

Narrator: This is Science Today. Although there are many advances in mechanized agricultural technology, many farm labor practices remain unchanged in the way workers perform certain tasks. Agricultural engineering professor, John Miles, of the University of California, Davis, says this doesn't have to be the case.

Miles: Many of our bad labor situations are the result of a long history of people just believing what they're believing or doing what Grandpa did, without challenging what it was that Grandpa did. And I think we need to recognize that there are jobs that people shouldn't do.

Narrator: This includes common stooped labor practices to cultivate and harvest low-growing leafy vegetables. Miles says new bioengineering technology may soon alleviate this practice, but a University of California study focusing on strawberry pickers proved there are simpler solutions to reduce this type of lower back injury.

Miles: On one-hour intervals people were required to stop picking, stand up, stretch for about three minutes. Crews liked it, the results, I think, were positive.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.