July 26, 2012 As the drought continues to afflict the nation's corn belt, hog and chicken farmers are competing with ethanol factories for scarce and increasingly expensive corn. Meat producers say it's not a fair competition, because government rules call for a minimum level of ethanol production, no matter what the cost. They're campaigning for a suspension of those rules.
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These piglets on the Hardin farm in Danville, Ind., are going to cost more to feed than they will fetch at market.
July 25, 2012 The crops taking the worst hit from the current drought are the ones we feed to animals, like corn. Higher corn prices mean it can cost more to feed pigs and cattle than they will fetch at market, meaning higher meat prices for all.
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Stunted corn grows in a field next to a cattle feed lot in rural Springfield, Omaha, Neb.
July 19, 2012 Livestock and chicken farmers say the government's ethanol policy inflates fuel prices and forces them to compete with fuel companies for corn the fuel companies don't even want. This year, gas companies are required to buy 13 billion gallons of ethanol.
A supermarket's dairy case with shelves of yogurt.
July 19, 2012 Greek yogurt sales are booming in the U.S., and some companies are turning to new technology to get in on it. But some Greek yogurt purists who compete with those companies for market share say the products are not the same.
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Egg producers and the Humane Society agree on a bill to require larger chicken cages, but the pork and beef industries fear they're next and are fighting it.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
July 11, 2012 The egg industry and the Humane Society of the United States support a bill to require egg-laying hens to be raised in bigger cages, but a new organization backed by the pork industry and others is urging Congress to kill the egg bill.
July 3, 2012 U.S. requirements for meat to be labeled by country of origin may be in jeopardy after a recent World Trade Organization ruling. Or, maybe not. The U.S. is taking its time to contemplate the next move.
Notice how some of these tomatoes have unripe-looking tops? Those "green shoulders" are actually the keys to flavor.
June 28, 2012 Scientists have discovered that the gene that makes tomatoes uniformly ripe and red also makes them less tasty. But it's going to take consumer education and a willingness to pay more before the industry makes a change.
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Men at a slaughterhouse stand near hanging beef carcasses, late 1940s.
June 26, 2012 Thanks to American wealth and ingenuity, we're a nation of meat eaters. But that's not the whole story. Over the years, we've made access to land near cities affordable to farmers, and created a cheap market for beef and chicken.
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Rei do Agro cleared trees from this land over the past 18 months. It previously looked like the land on the right.
Belchion Lucas for NPR
June 15, 2012 Some accuse companies buying up land in Africa of dispossessing native farmers and using up scarce resources. But the Rei do Agro farm tries to be a good neighbor in Mozambique while banking on soybean profits.
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Workers harvest sesame, an oilseed crop, on the large farm that Quifel Natural Resources has set up in northern Mozambique.
June 14, 2012 Villagers say they're getting a raw deal as companies rush to buy up African land to form mega-farms. Farmers complain they've been ousted from the land while promises to improve water systems and schools and replant uprooted crops are not being kept.
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Corn has the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but nobody's naming football teams for the soybean.
June 7, 2012 Soybeans came to the U.S. as a cheap source of oil, and they've never been able to overcome that past. They just don't have the rock star status of corn, even though they're the nation's number two crop.
A sweetener by any other name ...
May 30, 2012 The FDA ruled that changing the name high fructose corn syrup to "corn sugar" would cause confusion.
May 17, 2012 We may romanticize that strawberries are grown down the road, but most of them come from California. And a complex web of plant cloning practices, relocation and fumigation has cropped up to keep it that way. Although scientists are exploring new options, like soil-free growing.
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May 9, 2012 While U.S. adults have relatively uniform microbe colonies in their guts, adults in Malawi and Amazonia have much more diverse populations. Scientists are still struggling with why that is and what it means.
Symbols like these are designed to help shoppers make healthier choices
May 1, 2012 Improving the health of people living in food deserts is much more than making sure there are veggies on the shelves. As activists have learned, it takes education and some old-fashioned innovation, too.
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