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

Workers spread "red vanilla" (vanilla that has been treated by special cooking) in the sun to be dried near Sambava, Madagascar, in May 2016. Madagascar, producer of 80 percent of the world's vanilla, has seen huge jumps in the price. It's one of the most labor-intensive foods on Earth. Rijasolo/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Rijasolo/AFP/Getty Images

Our Love Of 'All Natural' Is Causing A Vanilla Shortage

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/527576487/533192885" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Buried machinery in barn lot in Dallas, S.D., during the Dust Bowl in 1936. United States Department of Agriculture/Wikipedia hide caption

toggle caption
United States Department of Agriculture/Wikipedia

U.S. Pays Farmers Billions To Save The Soil. But It's Blowing Away

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/531894461/532120238" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Journalist Chris Clayton writes for an audience filled with climate skeptics: farmers and leaders of agricultural businesses. He's telling them that a changing climate will disrupt their lives. Courtesy of Chris Clayton hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Chris Clayton

A tractor pulls a planter while distributing corn seed on a field in Malden, Ill. Two scientists agree that pesticide-laden dust from planting equipment kills bees. But they're proposing different solutions, because they disagree about whether the pesticides are useful to farmers. Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Puerto Rican sugar refinery in 1973. In 1964, sugar accounted for almost half of all agricultural sales on the island, and sugar manufacturing accounted for 23 percent of all wages that Puerto Ricans earned. Then, within just a few years, the industry collapsed. NARA hide caption

toggle caption
NARA

Patent holder Bruce Barritt stops by the mother of all Cosmic Crisp trees. Cosmic Crisp was the result of breeding project at Washington State University in the 1990s. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Dan Charles/NPR

Washington Apple Growers Sink Their Teeth Into The New Cosmic Crisp

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/525421226/526779593" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A cow is milked at a dairy farm in Granby, Quebec, last month. President Trump recently accused Canada of unfairly blocking imports of milk from the U.S. He was taking aim at a Canadian system that defiantly rejects the free market and protects small farmers. Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bloomberg via Getty Images

How Canadian Dairy Farmers Escape The Global Milk Glut

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/526613411/526690291" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

EPA Says It Will Allow Continued Sale Of Controversial Pesticide

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/522015717/522015718" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Pesticide warning sign in an orange grove. The sign, in English and Spanish, warns that the pesticide chlorpyrifos, or Lorsban, has been applied to these orange trees. Jim West/Science Source hide caption

toggle caption
Jim West/Science Source

EPA Decides Not To Ban A Pesticide, Despite Its Own Evidence Of Risk

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/521898976/521954108" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Guest workers harvest much of North Carolina's sweet potato crop, including at the fields of Burch Farms, in Faison, N.C. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Dan Charles/NPR

Fearful Farmers Rush To Find 'Guest Workers'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/521112694/521142312" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript