Here are a list of resources to aid in your coverage of agriculture-related topic.
People to talk to
To cover the agriculture beat with precision, you have to develop rich sources. Here are a few groups you should be chatting with frequently.
- Farmers, especially as spring planting approaches in May and June, and at harvest in October and November. Catch them over winter in the north, for long-term projects. They’ll have more time.
- Farm groups
- Environmental groups
- University researchers , especially when they release new, peer-reviewed studies.
Scanning the Web
It’s important to check agriculture-related websites frequently. Below are sites to make sure you bookmark.
- CropLife International – industry group that offers information on pesticides and other chemical use, plus developments in biotech and seeds.
- Chicago Board of Trade – for crop prices, grain futures, other news.
- National Cotton Council – a one-stop shop for industry news.
- Environmental Working Group – nonprofit organization that has analyzed federal payments to farmers, showing that a small share get the bulk of the aid.
- North American Agricultural Journalists – an association of farm editors and writers, runs an annual contest and an annual conference.
- Society of Environmental Journalists – resources for staff journalists and freelancers, including huge topical index of sources, a member listserv offering advice on deadline, an elaborate website with resources even for nonmembers, and an annual conference that often examines agricultural issues.
Developing a library of resources
Find your favorite reading chair and cozy up with one of these agriculture books. This reading list will ensure you have a solid grasp of key topics.
- The Meat You Eat: How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America’s Food Supply, by Ken Midkiff.
- Farm, by Richard Rhodes
- Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
- Three Farms, by Mark Kramer
- Fateful Harves, by Duff Wilson
- CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations): The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, edited by Daniel Imhoff Watershed Media
- The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics, by Paul Thompson.
- Foodfight: The citizen’s guide to a food and farm bill, by Daniel Imhoff
- Raising a Stink: The Struggle over Factory Hog Farms in Nebraska, by Carolyn Johnson
- The Economics of Food: How Feeding and Fueling the Planet Affects Food Prices, by Patrick Westoff
- Against the Grain, by Richard Manning
- Grassland, by Richard Manning
- Food Fray, by Lisa Weasel
- Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
- Long Deep Furrow: 3 Centuries of Farming in New England, by Howard S. Russell, Mark Lapping
- Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner
- Hole in the Sky, by Bill Kittredge
- Parsnips in the Snow, by Mary Swander
- Where Our Food Comes From – Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest to End Famine, by Gary Paul Nabhan
- Chasing Chiles – Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail, by Kurt Michael Friese, Kraig Kraft, Gary Nabhan