Coronavirus: Investigate Midwest Reporter Diary

First reported in December, there are now just over 297,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, worldwide as of midday Saturday — including more than 22,177 cases in the U.S., according to data collected by John Hopkins University. The Midwest Center is reporting on the pandemic's impact in rural areas and in farm country.

A Texas community chokes on fecal dust from cattle feedlots … And regulators aren’t doing anything about it.

This story was produced in collaboration with The Texas Observer , Food and Environment Reporting Network and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. This article may not be reproduced without express permission from FERN. If you are interested in republishing or reposting this article, please contact info@thefern.org.  
Lawrence Brorman eases his pickup through plowed farmland in Deaf Smith County, an impossibly flat stretch of the Texas Panhandle where cattle outnumber people 40 to 1. The 67-year-old farmer and rancher brings the vehicle to a stop at the field’s southern edge.

Experts advocate for human rights to a healthy environment

President Trump withdrew this week from the Paris Climate Agreement, a global effort to combat climate change. Earlier this year, Illinois Engagement Reporter Claire Hettinger attended the annual Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment Congress at the University of Illinois. This is what she learned about climate change.

Critics worry about food safety as federal meat inspectors face work overload, burnout

A nine-month investigation by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found dozens of situations at the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service where routine vacancies leave the remaining federal food inspectors vulnerable to burnout, work overload and other job hazards.

In several cases, employees in other roles are oftentimes forced to abandon their own job duties to cover the slaughter line inspections mandated for plants to operate.

On your dinner plate and in your body: The most dangerous pesticide you’ve never heard of

Chlorpyrifos - scientists say there is no acceptable dose to avoid brain damage. Its use is banned in several European countries. Yet its residues are found in fruit baskets, on dinner plates, and in human urine samples from all over Europe. Now producers are pushing for a renewed EU-approval - perhaps in vain.