Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Midwestern farmers are going bankrupt at the highest rate in a decade and it all comes down to Trump's trade wars. The Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty would have slashed tariffs for US farmers, but Trump pulled out of the treaty three days after taking office. Now, countries like Mexico and China are imposing stiff tariffs in retaliation, but it's farmers are taking the hit.

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The so-called "Hunger Stone" is pictured in Decin, Czech Republic on August 29, 2018, by the low water level of the Elbe river. - Once an ominous harbinger of low water and hard times for rafters on the Elbe river, this summer a massive boulder known as the "Hunger stone" in the Czech city of Decin has warned of the record drought spanning much of Europe. (MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

Hard times are coming for Europe, according to a century-old rock in the middle of the Elbe River in the Czech Republic. Known as a “hunger stone,” the rock is inscribed with the words, “Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine” or "If you can see me, then weep."

The stone, roughly the size of a van, was inscribed in 1904 by a boatman whose work dried up that year when the river bed became too shallow to support boat traffic. About 20 such boulders, engraved with markers and dates going back to 1616, lie under the waters of the Elbe, a major central European waterway running from the Czech Republic through Germany to the North Sea. Plummeting river levels have exposed them.

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Flock of cock and hens (Gallus gallus domesticus) chickens in field at poultry farm. (Arterra/UIG via Getty Images)

There are 19 billion chickens on the planet, and they exist at our pleasure. Yet we don’t really understand them. Perhaps the wisdom of the chicken isn’t something the world needs to hear, but on the other hand, as factory farming techniques proliferate around the world, and the risk of diseases intensifies, any information chickens can communicate is valuable.

Engineers and poultry scientists at The University of Georgia and Georgia Institute of Technology are collaborating with farmers to interpret the chicken language to monitor flock and farm conditions. They’ve developed software that can listen in chicken facilities and alert farmers to problems with temperature, air quality, illness, or other stressors.

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Vet administering an antibiotic tube to prevent mastitis in dairy cattle. (Wayne Hutchinson/Farm Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Our best medicines are losing their power. Since the 1940s, antibiotics have stopped infections from turning deadly, saving millions of lives around the world. Prior to the discovery of antibiotics, surgery was more dangerous, now-curable diseases like STDs and tuberculosis killed millions, and a paper cut could be fatal. However, overuse and misuse of these drugs have led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of “superbugs.” Older types of antibiotics have been rendered useless by these powerful bacteria, compelling researchers to develop new generations of stronger varieties. Now those newer drugs are losing their effectiveness as well, and the World Health Organization has raised the alarm: We are running out of cures.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO. “There is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections including TB, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery.”

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LIVERMORE, CA - JULY 18: A Safeway customer shops for milk at Safeway's new "Lifestyle" store July 18, 2007 in Livermore, California. Safeway unveiled its newest Lifestyle store that features numerous organic and natural foods as well as expanded produce, meat, seafood and floral departments. The store also offers freshly made desserts and baked goods, a coffee roaster, a fresh nut bar and wine section with over 2,000 wines, some of which are stored in a climate controlled wine cellar. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Those who don’t consider fat-free milk to be “real” milk may sympathize with Florida: The Sunshine State just lost $437,000 in a battle to rename a dairy’s skim milk “imitation milk.”

Back in 2011, the state Department of Agriculture claimed a small, family-run creamery was being deceptive when it labeled its skim milk “skim milk.” Not because it didn’t contain milk, but because it refused to add vitamin A.

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When grocery shoppers choose shelf-stable “boxes” of organic almond milk over refrigerated plastic jugs of conventionally-produced cow milk, they believe they’re doing something good, not only for their own health, but the environment. But the sobering truth is that if shoppers happen to be in a chain supermarket, a “USDA Certified Organic” label on a box of almond milk doesn’t mean what it used to. In fact, some organic farmers now consider the label so meaningless, they refuse to use it on their products.

Organic food production is no longer limited to small, privately owned farms. Consumer demand for organic foods rose sharply over the last decade and a half, from U.S. sales of $6.1 billion in 2000 to $35 billion in 2013.  Not surprisingly, this trend resulted in a dramatic change in the organic agricultural landscape. Multinational corporations including Coca-Cola, Cargill, ConAgra, General Mills, Kraft, and M&M Mars have taken over what has become an increasingly consolidated — and profitable — sector of the food industry.

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