The son of a poor Kansas farmer, Walters' childhood was marked first by the Dust Bowl, then by the Great Depression. He came of age doing military service in the waning days of World War II, and earned a master's degree in economics on the G.I. Bill. He gained experience as editor for the National Farmer's Organization (NFO), a group dedicated to the idea of using collective bargaining to obtain a better deal for the family farmer. In 1970 he began his own monthly publication Acres U.S.A, as a voice for eco-agriculture. In his spare time he authored thousands of articles and numerous books on the technologies of eco-agriculture.
A tireless traveler, Walters journeyed to Egypt, Cuba, Australia, and Brazil (among others), always returning with long, insightful articles about the rural culture and agricultural practices he found and the people he met.
Now semi-retired in Kansas City, Missouri, Charles Walters still contributes articles and essays to the journal he founded, which his son Fred Walters now runs out of Austin, Texas.