It's a warm, late-August day on Glen Fuller's Western Colorado farm, and a whiff of something vaguely citrus wisps through the air.
It's the smell of hops. The lush vines climb 18-feet high, drooping with cone-shaped flowers, nearly neon in their greenness. Fuller is in the middle of harvest, cutting vines by the row and feeding them through a machine to remove the aromatic cones. Many of his hops will be used nearly immediately, as Front Range brewers gear up for a seasonal brew called a "wet hopped beer."
Earlier this year, U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled the first major overhaul of the nation's poultry-inspection system in more than 50 years.
Credit Big Stock Photo
Jennifer Brdar’s dream job was to be a meat inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, watching out for unwary consumers and making sure the meat on their dinner tables was clean and disease-free.
Genetically modified wheat has never been approved for farming, so nearly all of the wheat grown in the U.S. is a conventional variety.
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Monsanto has agreed to settle some of the lawsuits brought by U.S. farmers who allege they lost money when an Oregon field was discovered to have been contaminated with an experimental genetically modified strain of wheat.
Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier. Despite the demand, making local food work in some places is decidedly more difficult than others. Steamboat Springs is one of those places.
Foster Farms, California's biggest chicken producer, has been accused of poisoning people with salmonella bacteria. After an outbreak last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture threatened to shut down three of the company's plants.