Middleton, Wisconsin - Peering down into the seed tubes at a Monsanto lab. It is amazing how much trial and error (mostly error) goes into genetically modifying a seed. Scientists can fairly easily add a new bit of genetic material, but then they have to grow and test each seed to see how it responds in nature. It can take years to make sure the right gene is in the right place doing the right thing. (@radiosmith/NPR)

Middleton, Wisconsin - Peering down into the seed tubes at a Monsanto lab. It is amazing how much trial and error (mostly error) goes into genetically modifying a seed. Scientists can fairly easily add a new bit of genetic material, but then they have to grow and test each seed to see how it responds in nature. It can take years to make sure the right gene is in the right place doing the right thing. (@radiosmith/NPR)

Middleton, Wisconsin - We have finally reached the very beginning of the T-shirt chain. This is the Monsanto lab where new genetic traits are added to cotton seeds. More than 90 percent of U.S. cotton has been modified so it can resist insects and pesticides. Our farmer we’re profiling loves the science, but complains about the price of the high tech seeds. (@radiosmith/NPR)

Middleton, Wisconsin - We have finally reached the very beginning of the T-shirt chain. This is the Monsanto lab where new genetic traits are added to cotton seeds. More than 90 percent of U.S. cotton has been modified so it can resist insects and pesticides. Our farmer we’re profiling loves the science, but complains about the price of the high tech seeds. (@radiosmith/NPR)

Clarksdale, Mississippi - The members of Team Delta (Smith & Jiang) are leaving the farm to return to the big city, but not before a selfie with a ton of cotton. This was the last big reporting trip of the project. The stories of your Planet Money t-shirt start to air in mid-November. (@radiosmith/NPR)

Clarksdale, Mississippi - The members of Team Delta (Smith & Jiang) are leaving the farm to return to the big city, but not before a selfie with a ton of cotton. This was the last big reporting trip of the project. The stories of your Planet Money t-shirt start to air in mid-November. (@radiosmith/NPR)

Clarksdale, Mississippi - The John Deere cotton picking machines plop these giant round bales of cotton on the side of the road. The drivers barely slow down. The bales will be picked up later in the day by trucks from the cotton gin.  Til then, it’s a easy place to parallel park.  (@radiosmith/NPR)

Clarksdale, Mississippi - The John Deere cotton picking machines plop these giant round bales of cotton on the side of the road. The drivers barely slow down. The bales will be picked up later in the day by trucks from the cotton gin. Til then, it’s a easy place to parallel park. (@radiosmith/NPR)

Clarksdale, Mississippi - Don Williams looks down from the cab of a cotton picker. These things are so automated the drivers can relax and (one admits) even fall asleep occasionally. These machines eliminated a lot of jobs on the cotton farm, so the driver is the lucky one. (@radiosmith/NPR)

Clarksdale, Mississippi - Don Williams looks down from the cab of a cotton picker. These things are so automated the drivers can relax and (one admits) even fall asleep occasionally. These machines eliminated a lot of jobs on the cotton farm, so the driver is the lucky one. (@radiosmith/NPR)

seedtoshirt
seedtoshirt:

Clarksdale, Mississippi - Bowen Flowers (the tall one) has 4000 acres of cotton. He gives a tour to reporter Robert Smith minutes before the harvest begins. Genetic engineering has created cotton plants that yield more than ever before while keeping away pests and weeds. Bowen says the goal is always to harvest more cotton with fewer human hands. (@radiosmith@jessjnpr/NPR)

seedtoshirt:

Clarksdale, Mississippi - Bowen Flowers (the tall one) has 4000 acres of cotton. He gives a tour to reporter Robert Smith minutes before the harvest begins. Genetic engineering has created cotton plants that yield more than ever before while keeping away pests and weeds. Bowen says the goal is always to harvest more cotton with fewer human hands. (@radiosmith@jessjnpr/NPR)

seedtoshirt
seedtoshirt:

Clarksdale, Mississippi - The last stop on our t-shirt reporting project is back to the beginning. The cotton harvest. We traced the fiber in our t-shirt back to the Mississippi delta and today we’ll see how its done. Here’s one new thing: instead of a motel, we are staying in refurbished cotton shacks like the one above. The folks at the Shack Up Inn are being gracious hosts for our team. And we can see our cotton fields from the window. (@radiosmith@jessjnpr/NPR)

seedtoshirt:

Clarksdale, Mississippi - The last stop on our t-shirt reporting project is back to the beginning. The cotton harvest. We traced the fiber in our t-shirt back to the Mississippi delta and today we’ll see how its done. Here’s one new thing: instead of a motel, we are staying in refurbished cotton shacks like the one above. The folks at the Shack Up Inn are being gracious hosts for our team. And we can see our cotton fields from the window. (@radiosmith@jessjnpr/NPR)