Drought’s Toll on Farmers, Food in Cop27, and Why the Direct Consumer is nowhere near over | Catch My Job


Drought wears on you mentally. Nebraska organic farmer Kevin Fulton told me earlier this week, when I asked him about his 28 years in the business for my latest feature, out this morning. What he shared with me was serious: “You work hard to keep up with the irrigation. It’s depressing. These kinds of things sometimes push farmers over the edge.”

My story talks about the big challenges that farmers like Fulton have faced this summer, and what lies ahead.

Despite the dangerous task ahead, Fulton is at least optimistic.

“Like most farmers, when we have a bad year, we say it will be better next year. We live to farm another year,” he said. “Sometimes it seems like it can’t get any worse.”

Farmers face an uncertain and dangerous future – feeding the world amid worsening climate change. More than 100 million people worldwide are expected to be in extreme poverty by 2030 due to climate change, and with poverty comes hunger. Already around the world, millions are displaced each year due to climate-related disasters.

“Climate change affects hunger so much in such direct and significant ways, we know that ending hunger will not be possible unless we slow down climate change and adapt to the impacts we already seeing them,” said Director of Bread Policy for the World, Jordan Teague, an expert on climate change and its impact on food insecurity. “These erratic and severe weather patterns affect people’s livelihoods and food security.”

These harsh truths are what I have been thinking about during this long weekend. The end of summer is hitting me like a ton of bricks, although I did get some surprising good news this week: the first review of my upcoming book, Raw Deal, hit, and Publisher’s Weekly called it “an extraordinary call knowledgeable and eye-opening for change.” Thrilling! To celebrate, I will eat every last bit of tomatoes, eggplants and watermelon until the end of this season. I wish you happy chewing.

— Chloe Sorvino, Staff Secretary

This is Forbes’ Fresh Take newsletter, which every Friday brings you the latest on the big ideas that are changing the future of food. Want it in your inbox every week? Register here.

I am moderating a panel focused on the future of food called “Is Modern Agriculture a House of Cards?” Modern agriculture is based on three key assumptions: cheap energy, free water and consistent weather. All of that is starting to run out. The future of food depends on a major overhaul, which must address many fundamental threats affecting all parts of the supply chain. From the world’s largest food corporations to the industry’s most innovative start-ups, these pioneers will share how change is being put to the test. Discussing with me will be AB In Bev CEO Michael Doukeris, Air Protein Founder and CEO Lisa Dyson and fifth generation farmer from Alabama, Kyle Bridgeforth.

Get your tickets before they sell out.

What’s Fresh

US Farmers Struggle Through Drought To Bring Food To The Table But Face More Challenges Ahead Extreme weather and high fuel prices have been daunting obstacles for American food producers, but the good news is wheat and soybean yields are up compared to last year. Story by Yours truly.

DTC Ain’t Over, And Here’s How These Consumer Brands Are Playing It Smart Apple’s iOS 14 update in 2021 that restricted advertisers’ use of user data, coupled with high logistical costs, supply chain constraints and later, the growing threat of inflation, is pushing DTC brands to play smart online, Douglas Yu writes.

Tackling Obesity, Freeing the Food Industry As Hank Cardello writes, the White House will host its first food policy conference in over fifty years. Will the food industry have a seat at the table?

Nazi Ships, Bodies In Barrels, Lost Cities And Other Discoveries Revealed By Photo Drought Artefacts are being revealed as the world experiences a particularly intense period of drought, thanks in large part to climate change, according to Eric Mack.

Food Systems: A Watershed Moment At COP27? Food may be the answer to some of our most pressing environmental and social challenges, writes Danielle Nierenberg.

Don’t sleep at the end of the BLT season! My CSA tomatoes have been so big and juicy this year. They’ve been the perfect stars for any sandwich, but I can’t resist a BLT during the summer.

Chloe Sorvino leads coverage of food and agriculture as a staff writer on the enterprise team at Forbes. Her book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, will be published in December 2022 with Atria Books Simon & Schuster. Her eight years of reporting at Forbes have brought her to In-N-Out Burger’s secret test kitchen, drought farms in California’s Central Valley, burned national forests hired by a timber billionaire, a century-old slaughterhouse in Omaha, and even a chocolate croissant factory designed like a medieval castle in Northern France.

Thanks for reading the forty-fifth issue of Forbes Fresh Take! Let me know what you think. Subscribe to Forbes Fresh Take here.


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