June 19, 2020

Back in April, we looked at how American dairy farmers were dumping thousands of gallons of milk due to drastic drops in demand from businesses and schools. This video illustrates how this problem has grown in the months since and offers potential solutions that could keep supplies and prices stable.

Questions:

  1. How have dairy cooperatives responded to the supply crisis that was caused by the pandemic?
  2. Do you think independent farmers should receive more relief from federal regulators? Why or why not?
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December 10, 2019

According to the Census of Agriculture, from 2002 to 2017 Christmas tree production fell by 30 percent as artificial trees grew in popularity. American growers now harvest fewer than 15 million trees annually, down from 21 million in the early 2000s. Meanwhile, sales of artificial trees have steadily risen thanks to their affordability and convenience. Not only are plastic Christmas trees clean and reusable, but they’re also considerably safer than real trees that can quickly catch fire with a single Continue reading

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December 6, 2019

This week, multiple news outlets reported about a poor potato crop in Canada and the U.S. that could potentially affect the nation’s French fry supply. With winter weather arriving early throughout North America, potato growers lost thousands of acres of crops due to freezing temperatures. As a result, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that American spud production will drop by six percent this year. And since potatoes used for French fries tend to be harvested later in the season, Continue reading

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August 14, 2018

In June, the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer paid $63 billion to acquire Monsanto, one of the biggest names in agricultural technology. The idea behind the deal was to merge Bayer’s pesticide business with Monsanto’s dominance in genetically modified crops to create the world’s largest seed and agrochemical company. Along with these valuable assets, however, Bayer also acquired a lot of legal baggage. Over the years, Monsanto has faced thousands of lawsuits from consumer and environmental advocates who claim that the Continue reading

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April 3, 2018

With their fuzzy frames and quizzical expressions, alpacas might be one of the world’s goofiest looking animals. Of course, these llama-like creatures have much more to offer than just their funny faces. Alpaca fleece ranks as one of the finest textile materials available, similar to sheep’s wool only warmer and without any prickliness. In the 1990s these key qualities fueled a boom in alpaca fleece production that also encouraged many Americans to purchase their own animals for breeding. Once called Continue reading

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November 14, 2017

Each year American restaurants and supermarkets throw away $57 billion worth of food due to spoilage or lack of demand. An additional $15 billion in foodstuffs never even leaves farms, often because the crops are either damaged or simply too ugly to sell. Although companies try to donate as much unsold inventory as possible, the scale of the problem is far larger than the industry can currently handle.

That’s where startups like Spoiler Alert and FoodMaven come in. These Continue reading

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September 12, 2017

avocadosOne hundred years ago hardly any Americans outside of California had ever seen an avocado, let alone ate one. Then during the 1920s a Los Angeles postal worker named Rudolph Hass planted an avocado seed in his backyard that eventually grew into a highly productive tree. His children raved about how their father’s flavorful fruit beat out any competitors at the local market, eventually convincing him to patent the Hass Avocado in 1935. Soon growers across the region began to Continue reading

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October 27, 2016

Although the world’s population is always increasing, the physical size of the globe stubbornly remains the same. As a result, humans might soon face a shortage of some key resources, including food with high protein content. But here’s where the humble cricket hops in: while many Americans may consider them pests, crickets can be a nutritious and environmentally sustainable food source. This video takes a look at the ways one cricket farm operates and how its owners hope to market Continue reading

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October 7, 2016

DamianSFor those who have spent years ordering items from online retailers like Amazon, setting foot inside a store can sometimes seem like taking a trip back in time. But while the shift away from brick-and-mortar locations has utterly changed industries like music and clothing, grocery stores have remained largely the same since the dawn of the digital revolution. After all, most people still prefer to examine food in person before they buy it.

But that hasn’t stopped a collection Continue reading

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September 20, 2016

FriedDoughThe family-owned berry grower Driscoll’s is looking to become more of a household name. With new packaging and a retooled online presence, the company wants to let the U.S. know why their berries are unique. “You have to find a way to say this strawberry is different from that strawberry, which isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do,” said executive vice president Soren Bjorn. “But our strawberries actually are different — no one else grows the strawberries we grow.” Along Continue reading

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