A line of fire turns brown grass into black earth.
April 28, 2014 In eastern Kansas, ranchers burn the prairie every spring to bring back grass for grazing cattle. Environmentalists celebrate those fires because without them the delicate ecosystem would disappear.
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Wal-Mart is promising to drive down the prices of organic food by bringing in a new company, WildOats, to deliver a whole range of additional products.
April 19, 2014 The giant retailer says it's adding a new line of organic food that's at least 25 percent cheaper. But a large-scale production and supply of organic food likely can't be achieved overnight.
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Backers of the new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops, including broccoli, carrots and kale, on Thursday.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
April 17, 2014 Scientists and food activists are launching a campaign to promote seeds that can be freely shared, rather than protected through patents and licenses. They call it the Open Source Seed Initiative.
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Live tilapia raised by Blue Ridge Aquaculture are loaded into a truck bound for New York.
April 7, 2014 Aquaculture in the U.S. has lagged because of opposition from environmentalists and people living on the coast. But entrepreneurs say they've found a way to produce fish on land with little pollution.
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Farmers participate in a CGIAR climate training workshop on how to interpret seasonal rainfall forecasts in Kaffrine, Senegal.
Courtesy of J. Hansen/CGIAR Climate
April 3, 2014 Climate change will likely hurt food production, raise food prices and increase hunger. But those calamities may not be inevitable, according to a group of international agriculture researchers.
Customers order food from a McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Ill. The company has promised to start buying "verified sustainable beef" in 2016.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
March 25, 2014 McDonald's says it will start to buy beef that's "verified sustainable" in 2016. But defining sustainable beef production is tricky because the environmental issues involved are so complex.
From the botanical to the economic, spring's iconic vegetable still harbors surprises.
March 13, 2014 Did you know how fast these green shoots, the season's iconic vegetable, can grow? Or that they come in male and female versions? Or that what we eat in the U.S. is mostly now grown abroad?
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The world is increasingly relying on a few dozen megacrops, like wheat and potatoes, for survival. Above, a wheat field in Arkansas.
March 4, 2014 People around the world are eating a wider range of foods. But as a whole, we are increasingly reliant on a few crops. Researchers say that increases the risk of agricultural disaster.
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The increasingly successful movement to eliminate GMO crops from food is turning out to be organic's false friend.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
February 28, 2014 Non-genetically modified farming is not organic. It's a whole lot cheaper and essentially uses conventional farming techniques. But some consumers think they're the same thing.
Empty shelves where eggs should be at a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C. The store blames increased demand for organic eggs.
February 27, 2014 America's farmers aren't growing enough organic corn and soybeans for our organic animals. Farmers in China, India and Argentina are filling the gap, but tight supplies have led to shortages.
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Benny Bunting, a farm advocate for Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, in front of one of his old chicken houses in Oak City, N.C.
February 20, 2014 Most of the nation's chicken meat is grown by contract farmers who get ranked against each other when it's time to get paid. Critics say someone always ends up losing — and, too often, deep in debt.
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Chickens gather around a feeder in a Tyson Foods poultry house in Washington County, Ark.
April L. Brown/AP
February 19, 2014 A new book argues that Tyson's system treats farmers like "modern-day sharecroppers." Author Christopher Leonard looks at Tyson's inner workings and the not-so-independent farmers who raise the birds.
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Allen Williams grows corn and soybeans for Clarkson Grain, which has been selling GMO-free grain to Japan for years.
February 4, 2014 Many American food companies, responding to consumer demands, are looking for grain that's not genetically modified. It turns out that non-GMO corn and soybeans aren't hard to find. Years ago, grain traders set up a supply chain to deliver non-GMO grain from U.S. farmers to customers in Japan.
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Beef cattle in a barn on the Larson Farms feedlot in Maple Park, Ill.
January 28, 2014 Documents show that Food and Drug Administration scientists allowed 18 drugs to be sold to farmers despite a risk to human health.
Farm statistics: usually illuminating ... occasionally misleading.
January 27, 2014 Numbers don't lie, but they can sometimes tell a misleading story. Three times in the past week, we came across farm statistics that painted a picture not quite backed up by facts on the ground.
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