A dozen grassroots organizations have challenged a USDA rule change that would make medium-sized animal confinements exempt from environmental review before receiving government-backed loans from the Farm Services Agency.December 26, 2018 | https://investigatemidwest.org/2018/12/26/lawsuit-challenges-rule-easing-environmental-reviews-for-animal-confinements/
The USDA wants to tighten work requirements for 2.8 million Americans receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps.
The proposed rule change was announced Thursday, the morning President Donald Trump signed a Farm Bill that notably left out changes to SNAP.
Poultry growers, caught between strict rules and financial risk, lean heavily on government-backed loans
Since 2010, poultry growers have taken out more than 3,000 loans backed by the SBA, totaling $2.9 billion, according to analysis of Small Business Administration loan data by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. In March, the Inspector General released a report looking into the relationship between poultry integrators and growers. It said the rules big poultry companies placed on chicken farmers means they are not independent small businesses, calling into question their eligibility for Small Business Loans. Now, the SBA is considering revisingDecember 11, 2018 | https://investigatemidwest.org/2018/12/11/poultry-growers-caught-between-strict-rules-and-financial-risk-lean-heavily-on-government-backed-loans/
Slow speeds, bad coverage and expensive service.
These are just some of the concerns contained in nearly 300 public comments on Rural Broadband Pilot Program proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found.November 21, 2018 | https://investigatemidwest.org/2018/11/21/usdas-rural-broadband-plan-met-with-citizen-criticism-and-concerns/
When nearly 300 Americans submitted comments this summer on the USDA's pilot plan to bring high speed broadband internet to rural America, they mentioned the great opportunities reliable internet connectivity could bring.
But they also voiced skepticism over the agency's proposed plans for the project, which has been in the works for nearly a year.November 21, 2018 | https://investigatemidwest.org/2018/11/21/business-education-healthcare-top-of-mind-as-rural-broadband-expansion-inches-forward/
With your help, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting could receive up to $75,000
NewsMatch opens with more than $3 million in matching support for nonprofit newsrooms across the U.S.
The campaign doubles donations to 155 nonprofit newsrooms in nearly every state across the country, starting Nov. 1 and running through Dec. 31, 2018.
The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting will also receive an additional match.
Midwest farmers and businesses rallied Tuesday to oppose the escalating U.S.-China trade war. Here's why.September 21, 2018 | https://investigatemidwest.org/2018/09/21/midwest-businesses-farmers-rally-to-oppose-trumps-trade-war/
Use this database to see how many farmland acres your state has lost or gained between 1997 and 2012September 18, 2018 | https://investigatemidwest.org/2018/09/18/database-disappearing-farmland/
Urban sprawl began in the 1950s and has been a concern of city planners and the agricultural community since the early 1990s.
But a new study from American Farmland Trust shows development around small towns across the Midwest has contributed nearly as much to the loss of agricultural land since 1992 as urban sprawl.September 18, 2018 | https://investigatemidwest.org/2018/09/18/disappearing-farmland/
America has lost millions of acres of farmland over the nearly three decades to urban and rural development.
Despite conservation efforts by state and local governments and increased financial incentives for farmers, urban development and the expansion of rural residential real estate over the last 25 years has eliminated farmland across the country at levels not seen since the early 1970s.