For about two years, General Motors Co. engineer Brian Stouffer tried to figure out why faulty ignition switches now linked to at least 13 deaths were causing cars to stall. His quest was thwarted by uncooperative colleagues, inaccurate data and a rotating cast of managers.
Almost every piglet born on Craig Rowles’ hog farms near Carroll, Iowa, died from the virus that swept through his herds in November, causing $462,000 of lost revenue in the first month of the outbreak. By the end of February, he expects to lose 15,000 animals, or 10 percent of annual sales.
Pickup trucks lined a stretch of gravel road where 150 farmers mingled between 7-foot tall cornstalks and shimmering soybeans to see which of their wealthy brethren would bid on a swath of Iowa’s richest cropland. This was a farm -- table-flat and 314 acres -- so coveted that it drew three times the usual land-sale crowd.
Corn is no longer king on Todd Wachtel’s 5,500-acre farm in Illinois. After prices fell to a three-year low in January, he will cut planting by 20 percent in 2014 and devote half his land to soybeans, which are cheaper to grow and just as profitable for the first time in four years.
Din Tai Fung, a restaurant in Shanghai’s Xintiandi district, is famous for its steamed pork dumplings. The pigs that keep those dumplings on the table are fattened with corn -- much of it imported from the U.S.
U.S. hog farmers are making money for the first time in a year after prices surged to a two-decade seasonal high and feed costs fell, spurring them to expand herds that will yield the most pork on record.
Drive across America’s farm country -- across the vast plains of Kansas, across the prairies of North Dakota, and then out onto the parched, treeless expanse of the inland Northwest -- and the waves of grain can seem endless.
Grain elevators and milk processors are testing for a corn toxin that can be fatal to livestock and cause cancer in humans after the worst Midwest drought in 56 years spurred an increased risk of contamination.
On the eve of the Iowa Straw Poll of Republican presidential aspirants, non-candidate Sarah Palin was mobbed as she slowly worked her way through the Iowa State Fair after arriving in Des Moines as part of her periodic “One Nation” bus tour.