The Agricultural Mechanization Controversy

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  08 Feb 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4687, pp. 601-606
DOI: 10.1126/science.227.4687.601


Attorneys of California Rural Legal Assistance are suing the University of California on behalf of 19 farm workers, alleging that publicly funded mechanization research displaces farm workers, eliminates small farmers, hurts consumers, impairs the quality of rural life, and impedes collective bargaining. This article reviews the evidence and finds that it does not support the charges. The mechanization lawsuit is important because applied research by universities is often authorized by legislation stipulating multiple goals, leaving researchers and universities vulnerable to lawsuits alleging that only some of the legislative goals are being pursued.