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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States
Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998, HR 2264, 105th Congress; this same language appears annually in the appropriations bill). In addition, farms are among the few work-places that also serve as homes to many children and adolescents, which can make it difficult to distinguish work-related agricultural injuries from nonwork-related injuries.
Today, rapid changes are occurring in agriculture in the United States and around the world. The globalization of trade, advances in biotechnology, and such engineering feats as the leveling of land with sophisticated laser equipment, are resulting in an industrialization of agriculture and a notion that farms are becoming firms (Department of Agricultural Economics, 1995). These changes affect not only the types of tasks and equipment used on farms, but also the numbers and sizes of farms. Since 1940, the numbers of farms and farmworkers in the United States have been decreasing; see Figure 5-1. At the same time, the average size of farms has increased. In 1960 there were 3.96 million farms averaging 297 acres each; by 1996 the number of farms had dropped to 2.06 million, and their