Dan Charles is NPR's food and agriculture correspondent.
Primarily responsible for covering farming and the food industry, Charles focuses on the stories of culture, business, and the science behind what arrives on your dinner plate.
This is his second time working for NPR; from 1993 to 1999, Charles was a technology correspondent at NPR. He returned in 2011.
During his time away from NPR, Charles was an independent writer and radio producer and occasionally filled in at NPR on the Science and National desks, and at Weekend Edition. Over the course of his career Charles has reported on software engineers in India, fertilizer use in China, dengue fever in Peru, alternative medicine in Germany, and efforts to turn around a troubled school in Washington, DC.
In 2009-2010, he taught journalism in Ukraine through the Fulbright program. He has been guest researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and a Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
From 1990 to 1993, Charles was a U.S. correspondent for New Scientist, a major British science magazine.
The author of two books, Charles wrote Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, The Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare (Ecco, 2005) and Lords of the Harvest: Biotech, Big Money, and the Future of Food (Perseus, 2001) about the making of genetically engineered crops.
Charles graduated magna cum laude from American University with a degree in economics and international affairs. After graduation Charles spent a year studying in Bonn, which was then part of West Germany, through the German Academic Exchange Service.
Thousands of meatpacking workers have been infected with the coronavirus. Some of their employers now are rolling out large-scale testing, and their experience may offer lessons for other businesses.
When COVID-19 infections forced pork companies to close processing plants, some farmers predicted that it would force them to euthanize millions of hogs. The actual number has been much lower.
The charitable organizations called food banks are getting a lot of attention and donations right now. But they aren't nearly as important or effective as SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.
Tyson Foods is halting work at a processing site in Waterloo, Iowa, because people have tested positive for the virus. Other plants also have closed, cutting U.S. pork production by about a quarter.
Smithfield Foods didn't want to stop slaughtering hogs at its Sioux Falls pork plant, even after hundreds of workers got sick with the coronavirus. Then the city's mayor forced the company's hand.
Several processing plants in the U.S. are sitting idle this week because workers are sick with the coronavirus. Other facilities are still operating, but fewer workers are showing up.