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.

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Story Archive

"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

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Dan Charles/NPR

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

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

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Scott Sinklier/Getty Images

Damage From Wayward Weedkiller Keeps Growing

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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

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Courtesy of Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

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

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Soybean leaves showing evidence of damage from dicamba. Thousands of acres of soybean fields have shown this kind of damage this spring. Courtesy of the University of Arkansas hide caption

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Courtesy of the University of Arkansas

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

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Rijasolo/AFP/Getty Images

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

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

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United States Department of Agriculture/Wikipedia

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Dan Charles/NPR

Washington Apple Growers Sink Their Teeth Into The New Cosmic Crisp

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