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.

 

As Texans are Exposed to Dangerous Pesticides, Lawmakers Aren’t Doing Anything

by | Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 11:57 CST
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.
Bar-G Feedyard near Summerfield is part of a vast constellation of feedlots that dot the western Panhandle. by

Something in the Air

In the Texas Panhandle, which produces a fifth of the U.S. beef supply, communities are being choked by fecal dust from nearby feedlots. The state’s regulatory agency isn’t doing anything about it—and it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

In the Texas Panhandle, which produces a fifth of the U.S. beef supply, communities are being choked by fecal dust from nearby feedlots. The state’s regulator...Read More

A wild adult American bald eagle is seen feeding two juveniles in a nest near Lake Palestine, Texas in this April 25, 2005 file photo. The Interior Department will announce on Thursday, June 28, 2007 that it is removing the majestic bird from the protection of the Endangered Species Act, capping a four-decade struggle for recovery. by

Bald Eagle Numbers on Lake Buchanan Hit a Record Low

The midwinter survey of bald eagles at Lake Buchanan found the lowest number ever recorded, and illegal duck hunting could be a factor.

Charles Tischler had no trouble spotting the white-throated caracara and red-tailed hawks wheeling through the sky above Lake Buchanan on Sunday. But those aren...Read More

Donald Trump by

Trump Harvests Support in America’s Farmlands

At a farm convention in Austin, the nation’s agriculture sector warmly welcomed a president who has hurt them in the past.

Donald Trump flew down to Austin on Sunday evening to commune with the sunburned, work-weary farmers and ranchers who comprise one of his most prized voting blo...Read More

Even before Ozona’s hospital closed in 1996, it had shuttered its maternity ward in the 1980s due to budget constraints. by and

This West Texas Town is a Reproductive Health Void

Family planning clinics and abortion clinics across Texas have been closing at an alarming rate. Rural hospitals are shuttering their maternity wards. For many Texans, this means traveling hundreds of miles just to access basic reproductive health care services.

Critical Condition: Part 3 Labor Away Family planning clinics and abortion clinics across Texas have been closing at an alarming rate. Rural hospitals are shutt...Read More

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