Rural Reporting Project
Texas has the largest rural population of any state—3.8 million people—yet many journalists treat much of the state as flyover country. The Observer has made reporting on rural Texas a priority with this long-term project. Staff writer Christopher Collins, who has investigated how crop dusting is putting Texans’ health at risk and the connection between destructive Panhandle wildfires and a mismanaged federal land program, is spearheading the effort from West Texas. View an interactive story map here.
Even in Democratic strongholds, some voters in the state’s vast shale plays were afraid of Joe Biden’s energy platform.
Once again, rural Texans voted en masse for President Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden spent no time campaigning in Texas and thus failed to reach the large swat...Read More
Texas allows nursing homes to voluntarily accept COVID-positive patients from hospitals and other nursing homes. But there are no additional safeguards for the people sent there, and some of the facilities have a history of breaking rules.
John Wayne McDermett used to manage nursing homes. Now he lives in one. After serving 12 years as a rural county judge and working a stint as a disc jockey at a...Read More
At the behest of the industry, legislators have chipped away at the environmental permitting process in Texas, stacking the deck against concerned people protesting industrial projects.
In 2008, Chase Power Development LLC, a Houston-based energy company, made plans to build a coal-fired power plant in the coastal Texas city of Corpus Christi. ...Read More
The infections are the latest in the surge of coronavirus cases at Texas meatpacking plants and in the Panhandle.
COVID-19 has spread inside a Tyson beef processing facility in Amarillo, marking the latest apparent outbreak of the virus at a Texas meatpacking facility. Plan...Read More
More than 100 Texas counties—many with limited medical resources—will be able to reopen businesses to 50 percent capacity on Friday.
In Red River County, a community of about 12,000 in far northeast Texas, the first confirmed COVID-19 case didn’t come until mid-April, despite the ballooning...Read More
Tyson employees interviewed by the Observer say that as the coronavirus spread through the facility in April, the company failed to notify them of the danger in a timely manner so they could protect themselves.
Officials at Tyson’s poultry processing plant in Shelby County may have waited weeks to tell workers that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19, preven...Read More
The outbreaks, which are being investigated by the state health agency, represent the first reported cases of the virus inside Texas meatpacking plants, and are in rural areas where medical resources are already stretched thin.
A meatpacking plant in Deep East Texas appears to be connected to an outbreak of COVID-19 in a rural part of the state where the number of coronavirus cases has...Read More
Pesticide drift is exposing rural Texans to dangerous chemicals. But lawmakers are more concerned with how that is eating into Big Ag’s balance sheet.
In the interim between legislative sessions, Texas lawmakers on the House Agriculture Committee will have an opportunity to examine an important but under-the-r...Read More
Mindy Brashears’ confirmation comes at a time when Americans are scouring supermarket aisles for safe food to eat.
On Monday, amid the rapidly intensifying COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Senate quietly approved a controversial scientist from Texas to oversee the safety of the n...Read More
With no edict from Governor Abbott, rural school officials must weigh the health of their students against the health of their communities.
Update: Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday, March 19, that all Texas schools will be closed until April 3. If he’d arrived four hours sooner, he’d ha...Read More