Death on the farm

Jade Garza and Hannah Kendall, of Sterling, Ill., were 14-year-old best friends whose Facebook page describes how they laughed together every day. They died side by side Monday, electrocuted while working in an Illinois cornfield.

Anyone who grew up in Midwest farm country is familiar with the annual summer ritual of removing tassels from seed corn to control pollination — a job that traditionally falls to youngsters.

And anyone who grew up in Midwest farm country is familiar with the injury and death that often accompanies farm work.

How heartbreaking that many simply accept the massive risk.

Farming lacks the safety rules and government inspections credited with reducing the toll in other hazardous occupations. That’s how a lot of farmers want it: The prospect of bureaucratic interference threatens deeply held values. The willingness to live with a high level of risk is the No. 1 barrier to greater progress, safety advocates report…Keep reading

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