Agriculture

2:52pm

Thu June 27, 2013
The Salt

What The Rise Of Cage-Free Eggs Means For Chickens

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 7:32 pm

Cage-free chickens in Harold Sensenig's barn near Hershey, Pa., get to roam and perch on steel rods, but they don't go outside.
Dan Charles NPR

The typical life of an egg-laying chicken is beginning to change dramatically.

Ninety percent of the eggs we eat come from chickens that live in long lines of wire cages, about eight birds to a cage. Animal welfare groups have long been campaigning against these cages.

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12:53am

Thu June 27, 2013
The Salt

Coffee Futures: The Highs And Lows Of A Cup Of Joe

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 10:49 am

Want to invest in coffee futures? One roaster says when it comes to the price of coffee, it "is like a roller coaster."
Joe Raedle Getty Images

NPR's Uri Berliner is taking $5,000 of his own savings and putting it to work. Though he's no financial whiz or guru, he's exploring different types of investments — alternatives that may fare better than staying in a savings account that's not keeping up with inflation.

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6:00pm

Wed June 26, 2013
Science

New Bugs In Florida Stymie Researchers, Threaten Crops

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:34 am

The psyllid, discovered eight years ago in Florida citrus groves, has been problematic for researchers and farmers alike.
University of California, Davis AP

With its pleasant climate, Florida has become home to more exotic and invasive species of plants and animals than any other state in the continental U.S. Some invasive species have been brought in deliberately, such as the Burmese python or the Cuban brown snail. But the majority of species are imported inadvertently as cargo.

Amanda Hodges, who heads the biosecurity research lab at the University of Florida, says that until recently, scientists saw about a dozen new bugs arrive in Florida each year.

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1:24pm

Wed June 26, 2013
The Salt

Rosie The Robot Won't Serve Your Food, But She'll Pick It

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 1:59 pm

A lettuce thinner manufactured by Ramsay Highlander removes excess seedlings from the field so that others have room to grow. Just one worker is required to operate the machine.
Rachel Estabrook

From manufacturing to cupcake sales, companies are finding that machines can often do the job just as well, or better, than humans. But some tasks – like picking and tending to fruit and vegetable crops – have remained the territory of low-wage laborers.

But labor-starved growers are now eying machines with increasing interest.

Some 90 percent of the strawberries and 80 percent of the salad greens grown in the U.S. come from California. These crops and a lot of others have always been picked by hand because they don't ripen all at once and can bruise easily.

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9:26am

Tue June 25, 2013
The Salt

Will GMOs Help Protect Ugandan Families Against Hunger?

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:45 am

A woman sells bananas at the Kampala Airport. Ugandans eat about a pound of the fruit, on average, per day.
Ronald Kabuubi AP

While a few states in the U.S. are debating mandatory labels for genetically modified foods, some African nations are considering a bigger question: Should farmers be allowed to plant genetically modified crops at all?

The question carries extra weight in countries like Uganda, where most people are farmers who depend on their own crops for food.

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