Dan Charles Dan Charles is NPR's food and agriculture correspondent.
Maggie Starbard/NPR
Dan Charles
Maggie Starbard/NPR

Dan Charles

Correspondent, Food and Agriculture

Dan Charles is NPR's food and agriculture correspondent.

Primarily responsible for covering farming and the food industry, Charles focuses on the stories of culture, business, and the science behind what arrives on your dinner plate.

This is his second time working for NPR; from 1993 to 1999, Charles was a technology correspondent at NPR. He returned in 2011.

During his time away from NPR, Charles was an independent writer and radio producer and occasionally filled in at NPR on the Science and National desks, and at Weekend Edition. Over the course of his career Charles has reported on software engineers in India, fertilizer use in China, dengue fever in Peru, alternative medicine in Germany, and efforts to turn around a troubled school in Washington, DC.

In 2009-2010, he taught journalism in Ukraine through the Fulbright program. He has been guest researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and a Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From 1990 to 1993, Charles was a U.S. correspondent for New Scientist, a major British science magazine.

The author of two books, Charles wrote Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, The Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare (Ecco, 2005) and Lords of the Harvest: Biotech, Big Money, and the Future of Food (Perseus, 2001) about the making of genetically engineered crops.

Charles graduated magna cum laude from American University with a degree in economics and international affairs. After graduation Charles spent a year studying in Bonn, which was then part of West Germany, through the German Academic Exchange Service.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

David Wildy, a prominent Arkansas farmer, in a field of soybeans that were damaged by dicamba. He says that "farmers need this technology. But right is right and wrong is wrong. And when you let a technology, a pesticide or whatever, get on your neighbor, it's not right. We can't do that." Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Dan Charles/NPR

Arkansas Defies Monsanto, Moves To Ban Rogue Weedkiller

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/552803465/552803466" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The organic industry is suing the government, demanding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture implement new rules that require organic egg producers to give their chickens more space to roam. Charlie Neibergall/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Charlie Neibergall/AP

Organic Industry Sues USDA To Push For Animal Welfare Rules

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/550607440/550607441" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Fallen fruit sits on the ground below orange trees in Frostproof, Fla., U.S. Hurricane Irma destroyed almost half of the citrus crop in some areas. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Michael Jacobson (right) and Bonnie Liebman, CSPI's director of nutrition, launching a campaign against over-salted food in the late 1970s. Courtesy of Center for Science in the Public Interest hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Center for Science in the Public Interest

A Pioneer Of Food Activism Steps Down, Looks Back

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/548715416/549250161" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Wade Dooley, in Albion, Iowa, uses less fertilizer than most farmers because he grows rye and alfalfa, along with corn and soybeans. "This field [of rye] has not been fertilized at all," he says. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Dan Charles/NPR

Does 'Sustainability' Help The Environment Or Just Agriculture's Public Image?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/545022259/545314133" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Anhydrous ammonia tanks in a newly planted wheat field. Walmart has promised big cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases. To meet that goal, though, the giant retailer may have to persuade farmers to use less fertilizer. It won't be easy. TheBusman/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
TheBusman/Getty Images

Can Anyone, Even Walmart, Stem The Heat-Trapping Flood Of Nitrogen On Farms?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/544229458/545074290" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The teal blue area along the Louisiana coastline represents a "dead zone" of oxygen-depleted water. Resulting from nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the Mississippi River, it can potentially hurt fisheries. NASA/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
NASA/Getty Images

The Gulf Of Mexico's Dead Zone Is The Biggest Ever Seen

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/541222717/541304579" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Poultry Industry Ready To Change The Way It Handles Chickens

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539825425/539825426" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

"The goats are kind of cool," says former inmate Chad Redding. "The females are like dogs — they just want your attention." Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Dan Charles/NPR

What's It Really Like To Work In A Prison Goat Milk Farm? We Asked Inmates

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/538062911/538370733" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A sprayer covers a soybean field with an herbicide to control weeds. Scott Sinklier/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Scott Sinklier/Getty Images

Damage From Wayward Weedkiller Keeps Growing

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/535669282/535732219" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Researchers monitored the health of these wild bees, from the species Osmia bicornis. They nest inside small cavities, such as hollow reeds. Courtesy of Centre for Ecology & Hydrology hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Pesticides Are Harming Bees — But Not Everywhere, Major New Study Shows

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/534852611/534969947" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript