Join us for dinner and a movie; we want your questions

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is hosting its first Dinner and Docs event on June 18. It will be an evening of dinner, a documentary and discussion around U.S. chicken production. The event will also highlight how the media covers issues of food and farming.

We’re partnering with agricultural communities to measure pesticide drift

If you live in central Illinois, you may have spotted a small, dome-like device that resembles a flying saucer along a fence or in a neighbor’s backyard. Those devices are air samplers, specifically designed to measure pesticide drift. We’ve placed four samplers in agricultural communities to learn more about what chemicals, if any, might be drifting from corn and soybean fields onto nearby backyards, school grounds and parks as spraying gets underway this spring. We have also placed a sampler near our office in Champaign to serve as a control. Below, you will find more information about how this project will contribute to our reporting, how the community helped determine the locations of the samplers and exactly how the samplers work.

How did the soybean become such a common crop in the U.S.?

This story was inspired by a question submitted at a Listening Post the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting held in August. Stuart Levy in Urbana, Illinois, asked us what would be needed for row crop farmers to switch from corn and soybeans to “something more sustainable.” We dug into that question, which starts with the unlikely circumstances that turned the soybean into a multi-billion dollar industry, and what this history might reveal about the future of U.S. agriculture. 

A matching gift will double your donation

We are excited to announce a matching gift opportunity from News Match, a national campaign by independent foundations to encourage grassroots support for nonprofit news organizations like ours. Starting right now—and until the end of the year—News Match will match dollar for dollar any donation we receive - up to $1,000 per donation.