Our Impact

Changing Climate Causing Concern for a Citrus-Growing Icon

In “Is the Ojai Pixie dust?,” published with KQED's California Report, Lisa Morehouse explains that an ideal climate is what made California's Ojai Valley known for its Ojai Pixie tangerine. But now that climate is changing, and farmers are worried about the future of agriculture in the valley.

Read More

Why Pricey Scallops Couldn’t Save a Mexican Fishing Village

In “White gold fever,” an audio story produced with Snap Judgment, Esther Honig details how the discovery of a massive bed of callo de hacha, a prized scallop, could have saved a struggling Mexican fishing village. But it didn't work out that way.

Read More

How Carbon Pipelines are Provoking Complicated Conversations

In “The great carbon-capture debate,” a FERN exclusive, Nancy Averett details the anger and fear felt by farmers and environmentalists because of Iowa's proposed carbon dioxide pipelines. And explains that even beyond that, a central question looms: Are the pipelines a legitimate piece in the climate solution puzzle, or just a windfall for agribusiness? Finding the answer is crucial because the planet’s temperature is rising, and government incentives for ethanol pipelines are time limited.

Read More

We Investigate How Feds are Failing to Protect Farmworkers From Heat

In “As heat rises, who will protect farmworkers?,” a FERN exclusive, Bridget Huber, Nancy Averett and Teresa Cotsirilos explain that though heat-related illness and death are a growing problem in U.S. agriculture, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration still hasn't established national safety guidelines.

Read More

A Look at What’s Behind the Great Pollen Meltdown

In “The great pollen meltdown,” published with Yale Environment 360, Carolyn Beans explains how heat is a pollen killer. Even with adequate water, heat can damage pollen and prevent fertilization in canola and many other crops, including corn, peanuts, and rice.

Read More

Controlled Burns Creating Critical Solutions

In “The return of ‘good fire’ to eastern U.S. forests and grasslands,” published with Yale Environment 360, Gabriel Popkin describes how advocates support controlled burns as part of a critical solution to a range of problems, from biodiversity loss to wildfire risk to climate change. But first, they must overcome government regulations and a long-held view of fire as unnatural and threatening.

Read More

FERN Digs into the Climate-Friendly Status of the Wood-Pellet Industry

In “The controversial biofuel threatening British Columbia’s forests,” published with The Walrus, Brian Barth explores the province's booming wood-pellet industry, which is causing worry that old-growth ecosystems will be pushed to the brink.

Read More

We Look at How a Tire Company Hopes To Help Arizona Farmers Thrive

In, “What should desert farmers grow?,” published with Mother Jones, Stephen Robert Miller describes how a Japanese rubber company plans to persuade Arizona farmers to grow a latex-producing crop that’s adapted to desert conditions. That wonder plant is called guayale (pronounced why-oo-lee) and the company is Bridgestone, who says it has made significant genetic breakthroughs in the crop since it originally began being grown in the U.S. in the 1920s.

Read More

FERN Digs into a Long Running-Dispute on Water Management

In “Epic floods in Pacific Northwest revive long-running dispute over how to manage a river,” published with Mother Jones, Teresa Cotsirilos, details how climate change has caused the water levels of rivers like the Nooksack to become erratic and less predictable. Farmers want regular dredging and aggressive flood-control measures in place, but Indigenous groups and scientists say that will doom the endangered Chinook salmon and could be disastrous to a river on the verge of ecosystem collapse.

Read More

We Show How a Regional Network of Farmers Plans to Push out Big Ag

In “The collective future of American agriculture,” published with The Nation, Dean Kuipers describes how pandemic-driven shortages gave fresh relevance to co-ops, hubs and other forms of collective agriculture. And with a trust-buster in the White House and a current of defiance coursing through the workforce, a new patchwork has a shot at becoming a viable alternative to Big Ag.

Read More

We Look At Why a Bioenergy Build-Out Is Stirring Controversy in the Chesapeake Bay Region

In “Biogas from America’s favorite meat: pollution solution or a prop for poultry?,” Leanna First-Arai takes us to the top chicken-cultivating county in the United States. On the Delmarva Peninsula — which stretches down the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay through Delaware, Maryland, and a small portion of Virginia — plants owned by Amick Farms, Mountaire Farms, and Perdue, among other corporations, process more than 600 million broilers a year.

Read More

A Program That Puts Farmworkers’ Lives on the Line

In “The farmworkers in California’s fire zones,” published with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, Teresa Cotsirilos explains that when wildfires forced thousands of Californians to evacuate, a little-known 'ag pass' program let employers keep farmworkers on the job.

Read More

FERN Travels to Brazil to Report on Beef and Deforestation

In “Brazil’s Amazon beef plan will ‘legalize deforestation’ say critics,” published with The Guardian, Brian Barth and Flávia Milhorance explain that the beef industry’s hopes for a planned deforestation-free farming zone will tempt buyers back, but many fear it will drive up illegal clearing in the Amazon.

Read More

How Climate Change is Behind Bristol Bay’s Salmon Boom

In “One Alaska bay is booming with salmon, for now,” published with The Atlantic, Miranda Weiss describes how scientists believe that climate change is boosting salmon numbers in Bristol Bay, even as warming temperatures and other factors seem to be driving the fish to extinction elsewhere. But even as more salmon are returning to Bristol Bay, some fishermen still worry that it might be time for a bust.

Read More

FERN Story Shows Chicken Farmers Protesting Big Poultry

In “Facing a merger and a pay cut, chicken farmers push back,” published with The Capitol Forum, Marcia Brown details how in Mississippi, contract growers risk retaliation by protesting a pay cut they say is tied to the latest Big Poultry merger.

Read More

Spiking Soybean Prices Lead to Less Carbon Storage

In “Farming boom threatens Biden’s climate and conservation ambitions,” published with National Geographic, Gabriel Popkin explains that high prices for corn and soybeans are driving farmers in the Great Plains to plow up vital grasslands at the expense of carbon storage and biodiversity.

Read More

FERN Finds That Fashion Could Help Save the Amazon

In “Can fashion help small farmers preserve the Amazon?,” published with The New Republic, Brian Barth and Flávia Milhorance help readers understand that though many downplay capitalist solutions to conservation, they have the potential to spark the wealth transfer needed to save the world's largest rainforest.

Read More

Ag Scientists Seek Out Rock Dust For Carbon Capture

In “Can rock dust be a climate fix for agriculture?,” published with Yale Environment 360, Susan Cosier describes how scientists are dusting crop fields with pulverized rocks to supercharge the chemical process that grabs carbon from the air and sequesters it in the soil. All while increasing crop yields.

Read More
Load More Posts