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.

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Story Archive

Brahman cattle graze in a field in Innisfail, Queensland, Australia. Researchers can estimate the greenhouse gas emissions and land used to produce various foods in different parts of the world. They've used that data to calculate the environmental impact of a shift in what people eat. David Messent/Getty Images hide caption

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David Messent/Getty Images

Soybean plants, with pods ready for harvest, in Boonsboro, Maryland. Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images hide caption

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Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images

The Soybean Is King, Yet Remains Invisible

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A farmer plows his field with an ox-pulled plow in China's Guangxi province. Archaeologists think that domesticated farm animals increased inequality in some ancient societies. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

From Cattle To Capital: How Agriculture Bred Ancient Inequality

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A neolithic jar from Khramis Didi-Gora, Georgia. The country has long prided itself on its winemaking tradition. A new analysis of ancient Georgian jars confirms that tradition goes back 8,000 years. Courtesy of the Georgian National Museum hide caption

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Courtesy of the Georgian National Museum

Georgian Jars Hold 8,000-Year-Old Winemaking Clues

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A piglet gets a shot of antibiotic at a farm in Illinois. The World Health Organization is calling for strict limits on antibiotic use in animals raised for food. The guidelines could push many countries, including the U.S., to restrict drug use on farms. Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images hide caption

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Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

Organic farmers who grow their crops in soil participate in a protest in Stowe, Vt., in 2015. Critics say the organic label is at essence about the health of soil, and did not want to allow crops raised in hydroponic systems to be labeled organic. Their efforts to strip hydroponic vegetables of the organic label failed this week. Wilson Ring/AP Images hide caption

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Wilson Ring/AP Images

Hydroponic Veggies Are Taking Over Organic, And A Move To Ban Them Fails

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Bob Scott, a weed scientist at the University of Arkansas, says he wishes more testing could have been done on the new dicamba formulations, but "the product was not made available to us." Dan Charles/ NPR hide caption

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Dan Charles/ NPR

Monsanto Attacks Scientists After Studies Show Trouble For Weedkiller Dicamba

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Brent Henderson harvests soybeans on his farm near Weona, Ark. "If it's going to be legal to use and neighbors are planting it, I'm going to have to plant [dicamba-tolerant soybeans] to protect myself," he says. "It's very annoying. ... My neighbor should not dictate what I do on my farm." Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

Damage to soybean plants and other crops has led to arguments and strain between neighbors. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

A Wayward Weedkiller Divides Farm Communities, Harms Wildlife

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A worker milking cows at a farm in Manati, Puerto Rico, on Thursday. Puerto Rico's dairy farmers account for about a third of the island's total agricultural production. Now they're struggling to recover their cows and get them milked. Courtesy of Manuel Perez hide caption

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Courtesy of Manuel Perez

Puerto Rico's Dairy Industry, Once Robust, Flattened By Maria

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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

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Dan Charles/NPR

Arkansas Defies Monsanto, Moves To Ban Rogue Weedkiller

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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

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Charlie Neibergall/AP

Organic Industry Sues USDA To Push For Animal Welfare Rules

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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

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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images