Agriculture: Men v. Mice

Banking and diving on orders from radio-equipped spotters on the ground, six planes flew pass after deadly pass over the lush, green terrain. Were they flushing out Viet Cong? Hardly. The enemy, darting around some 7,000 seaside acres of Monterey County, south of San Francisco, was Microtus californicus, a grey, nocturnal field mouse that measures no more than 4 in. from tip to quivering tail, yet threatens most of the nation's artichoke crop.

To the farmers in "the Artichoke Capital of the World," where 90% of the nation's supply is grown, the mice are a disaster. Blessed with sandy soil...

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