While sun and rain might be free, tomato farmers have to carefully weigh everything else they put in to growing their crop. Research and the development of new tools – from novel seed varieties resistant to diseases to additional fertilizers – has changed the input costs for growers.
Insects can be a great source of protein, and in many parts of the world, people gobble them up. But here in the U.S., a certain “ick factor” has kept consumers from eating crickets, locusts and mealworms. To combat the ickiness and convert skeptical consumers, bug-food advocates are trying a specific marketing tactic: be clever and cute.
The USDA's recently announced changes to the inspection process are driven in part by food safety concerns and government spending constraints. But there’s also just the need to account for modern times.
A devastating drought has left pockets of the Midwest even drier than in the Dust Bowl years. Farmers battle dust storms that darken, but many have been able to hang on thanks to modern farming methods.
The same technology used at crime scenes to link a stray hair to a suspect can also find medications in milk and meat. And the use of sophisticated testing is becoming increasingly available for livestock producers, who stand to lose lots of money if their products are tainted.