Ben Felder working from his home office.

Investigate Midwest is pleased to announce that it has received a $65,000 grant from the Kirkpatrick Foundation in Oklahoma City to begin covering the Oklahoma agribusiness and meatpacking industries.

The grant will support Investigate Midwest’s editorial efforts as it seeks to widen its coverage of industrial agribusiness and related issues in the Midwest and adjacent states, such as Oklahoma.

“It is an honor to be selected by the Kirkpatrick Foundation and grow our coverage of industrial agriculture,” Executive Director Erin Orr said.

With the grant, Ben Felder joined Investigate Midwest Aug. 7 as the dedicated Oklahoma reporter. 

“Agriculture is one of the most important, yet undercovered industries in Oklahoma, making this a rich beat for investigative reporting,” Felder said. “Getting a chance to turn my reporting focus to this sector, along with helping Investigate Midwest plant a flag in Oklahoma, is a thrilling opportunity.”

Felder previously worked for The Oklahoman as a political enterprise reporter blending narrative storytelling, data analysis and investigative reporting to cover the state’s political leaders, the influences behind them, and their impact on everyday Oklahomans.

“We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues and friends in Oklahoma,” said Brant Houston, president of the Investigate Midwest board of directors, “and deeply appreciate the Kirkpatrick Foundation giving us the opportunity to do so.”

Investigate Midwest, also known as the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, was created in 2009 in Kansas City before moving to Champaign, Illinois, in 2012. It has won numerous national and regional awards for its in-depth, data-driven reporting.

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