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Adam Minter

The Food Crisis Is Bad. US Crop Insurance Makes It Worse.

Federal agricultural programs give farmers strong reasons to keep fields idle. In normal times, that can make sense. But nothing’s normal now.

The weather outside is frightful.

The weather outside is frightful.

Photographer: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Food prices are soaring and worse may be on the way.

The US Department of Agriculture reported that there were only 3.7 days suitable for farm field work in Minnesota last week due to unusually cold and wet weather. That kind of bad weather has meant that only 11% of Minnesota's spring wheat crop was in the ground as of Sunday, compared to 100% at the same time last year.