agriculture

The decline of the small American family farm in one chart

Today’s farms are fewer and bigger.

The downsides of cheap corn

Inexpensive corn might be good for you, but it's no good for corn farmers.

The 21st century belongs to soybeans

Prices are high, China is buying, and there's almost nothing they can't do.

The farm bill is up for a final vote soon. Here’s why so many people hate it.

We've seen what the $956 billion farm bill does. Now let's look at some of the criticisms.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Feb 3, 2014
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The $956 billion farm bill, in one graph

This week, Congress is voting on a farm bill that will set U.S. food policy for the next half-decade. Here's what's in it.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Jan 28, 2014
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The case for an antibiotics tax

The FDA is trying to crack down on antibiotics use on farms. These economists say there's a better way.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Jan 13, 2014
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The FDA is cracking down on antibiotics on farms. Here’s what you should know.

A basic primer: Why antibiotic resistance is a problem, what farms have to do with it, and why some people think the FDA's rules don't go far enough.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Dec 14, 2013
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No-till farming is on the rise. That’s actually a big deal.

A key practice to avoid soil erosion has been making surprising gains in the U.S. So why hasn't it caught on in the rest of the world?

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Nov 9, 2013
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Washington could be the first state to require labels on GMOs. Here are the stakes.

On Tuesday, Washington state residents will vote on whether to require genetically modified foods sold in stores to be labeled as such.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Nov 4, 2013
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The ‘sell-by’ dates on your groceries are useless. Here’s why.

The date-labeling system for food in the United States is a mess, a new report argues. Here's how it got that way.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Sep 28, 2013
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How long before the Great Plains runs out of water?

A recent study found that farming in Kansas could peak by 2040 unless serious water-saving measures are taken.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Sep 12, 2013
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We’ve covered the world in pesticides. Is that a problem?

A look at new research on the effects — both good and bad — of covering the planet in pest-controlling chemicals.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Aug 18, 2013
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Farms are gigantic now. Even the “family-owned” ones.

Mom and pops still produce 87 percent of our food, because they've kept up with the times.

Quinoa should be taking over the world. This is why it isn’t.

Why many great crops never go mainstream in America.

Is it time for food stamps to come out of the farm bill?

About 80 percent of the farm bill goes toward food stamps. Many Republicans want to change that.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Jul 10, 2013
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Talks over a huge U.S.-Europe trade deal start this week. Here’s what you need to know.

The world's two largest economies are ready to allow the freer flow of commerce between them.

This terrifying chart shows we’re not growing enough food to feed the world

The good news: The world is getting better at farming. The bad news: We're not getting better quickly enough to satisfy growing demand.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Jul 1, 2013
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The House farm bill unexpectedly failed. So what happens next?

That was unexpected. Farm bills typically sail through Congress with little real opposition.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Jun 20, 2013
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The House just voted down its $940 billion farm bill. Here’s what’s in it.

The White House is threatening a veto over the bill's cuts to food-stamp programs. [Update: The farm bill got voted down 195-234.]

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Jun 20, 2013
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The Senate is voting on a $955 billion farm bill. Here’s what’s in it.

It's 1,150 pages long, costs $955 billion over 10 years, and it's coming up for a vote on Monday evening.

  • Brad Plumer
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  • Jun 10, 2013
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