Although the sunny state of Florida is famous for its acres of orange groves, the last few years have been stormy for citrus growers as they fight against a tree disease that damages their crops. This extensive video looks at how “citrus greening” brought on by an invasive insect has put many Florida growers out of business while others struggle to adapt to this new agricultural reality. 

Questions:

  1. How has citrus greening impacted the Florida orange industry?
  2. What are Continue reading
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April 21, 2022

Before the pandemic, enormous shipping vessels bound for the West Coast of the U.S. from Asia usually took the same predictable and profitable voyages. After docking in either the port of Los Angeles or Long Beach, the ships would unload their cargo and then head up north to Oakland, where they stocked up on agricultural goods from California’s expansive farmland. This cargo would ultimately end up in markets around the world after journeying across the Pacific and disembarking in Southeast Continue reading

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February 18, 2022

Chowing down on a big bowl of crickets probably doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? According to a range of experts interviewed in the video below, though, our disgust at the thought of eating insects might just be a matter of perception. This extensive report from the New York Times shows how lobsters went from disgusting to delicious in the eyes of American eaters, a branding journey that bugs might also take in the near future.

Questions:

  1. What are some Continue reading
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July 21, 2021

Over the last month, communities across the Western United States have imposed restrictions on water use as a major drought wreaks havoc on the region. This video looks at how the drop in the supply of surface water has hurt California farmers and why their pain could soon ripple out across the country.

Questions:

  1. How has the drought in the Western U.S. affected farmers in the region? 
  2. Do you think regulators should place restrictions on the use of groundwater Continue reading
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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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