Horses are again working in French vineyards

Aug 4, 2022
The animals can work land that is inaccessible to tractors, and vineyard owners say they improve the soil for grapes. But they raise costs as well.
A horse named Diva at work at Chandon de Briailles, one of many French vineyards that use horses instead of tractors.
John Laurenson

How natural gas cutbacks in the EU could impact U.S. farming

Jul 28, 2022
Natural gas is used to manufacture ammonia, which is a key ingredient in fertilizers.
A view shows a facility of German chemical giant BASF at the Alsachimie industrial site in Chalampe, eastern France, Jan. 17, 2022.
BENOIT TESSIER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

For farmers, it's not just today's inflation that matters. It's next year's too.

Jul 27, 2022
"We're wondering what this next crop year brings," said Brian Duncan. "But farmers are price takers, and that puts us in a really tough spot."
Brian Duncan at his farm in Polo, Illinois. "We have some opportunities right now," he says. "Prices are good. The challenge we have is how to keep costs in line."
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Why aren't mulberries sold at grocery stores?

Jul 22, 2022
The trees are easy to grow, but the berries are fragile and have a shorter shelf life compared to other fruits.
Mulberries are ripe when they fall off the tree.
altanakin/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Strong dollar is squeezing profits from this Washington farmer's exports

Jul 21, 2022
Patrick Smith, CEO of Loftus Ranches, is fighting inflation as well. Some fertilizer materials have nearly doubled in a year or two, he says.
"Beer is still good business," says Patrick Smith, CEO of Loftus Ranches in Yakima, Washington. Above, fresh hops from a California farm.
Katherine Garrova/Marketplace
Historic drought has brought water levels down to record lows on the Colorado River, seen here on March 28.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With workers scarce, some industries are turning to robots

Jun 2, 2022
The pandemic accelerated automation purchases, according to an industry group, especially in agriculture, construction and fast food.
A fully automated fast food restaurant in San Francisco in 2015. Industries like fast food and construction increasingly rely on automation.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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California's drought is squeezing farmers and threatening food prices

May 10, 2022
“There are a lot of empty fields that aren't being planted — something I've never seen before," say Terranova Ranch's Don Cameron.
In California, almond trees are being removed and hundreds of thousands of acres of rice won't be planted because of the drought, says Don Cameron of Terranova Ranch.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

War in Ukraine could affect food and energy prices through 2024, World Bank says

Wheat prices could increase more than 40% and energy more than 50% this year, according to the bank's president, David Malpass.
Commodity prices are rising, and "it’s hitting people in the poorest countries hardest," World Bank President David Malpass says. Stagflation is also a risk.
Louai Beshara/AFP via Getty Images

Rising wheat prices may not yield bounty for U.S. farmers

Mar 28, 2022
The Biden administration is examining the role market consolidation may play in the cost of seeds, fertilizer and other agricultural supplies.
The price of wheat has risen since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but American farmers' business expenses have been increasing.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images