Most people from the midwest know exactly what this job entails: hard, sweaty work from dawn till dusk within a contracted season: usually from early July to early August.

The work, most often done by a kiddie crew (underage midwesterners from 13 to 16), involves removing the male organs of the plant in order to prevent self-fertilization.

Some explanation is needed here: Hybrid seed corn results from the cross-breeding of two different varieties of corn to produce a vigorous offspring. The thing is, corn produces both male and female organs (the female organs are the silks that you got to pick off of your sweet corn before eating) so, by removing the tassels of one parent line (the female line), breeders can insure that the other parent line (the male line) will fertilize seed on those plants.

It looks like this in the fields:


Every "^" represents a male plant that will not be detasseled

Every "0" Represents a plant that must be de-genitalized!

The corn rows represented by the "0" are anywhere from a quarter mile to a half mile long and usually 4 feet tall. So you must go out, back and out and back again to complete a block (this totals two miles) Block value ranges from $20 to $40.

If you've read this far you must be interested in how much you can earn doing this shitty-ass mindnumbing work. Well, I made $2000 in three weeks this year (I'm 6 foot 3). It's hot and wet, but a great opportunity for people going to college to get out of their parent's house and get some bank during the summer.

It must be said that I am not a member of a kiddie crew, but a well paid piece-rate worker who is not paid by the hour, but by the amount of work done.

Also, corn is but one season in an extensive migrant labor season, including blueberries, tree planting, and apple picking

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